Path of Miracles

Jessica Heutteman (center) performs in "Path of Miracles," presented by the Westminster Choir at Spoleto Festival USA.

Performing artists embody their characters on stage, channel expertly a composer's intentions, dance and sing with grace and verve. Somehow they must get into the zone.

The Post and Courier spoke with a few involved in Spoleto Festival USA this year to find out how they prepare to perform.

Jessica Huetteman, a singer in the Westminster Choir, has participated in two presentations of "Path of Miracles," two Westminster Choir concerts, and a performance of Bach's St. John Passion. Here is her regimen:

My daily regimen at the Festival varies with rehearsal schedules. The first week of the Festival was filled with triple rehearsals for Westminster Choir and "Path of Miracles." I made sure to fuel with healthy foods and lots of coffee during my breaks. I am a pescatarian and have been able to find lots of good food in Charleston, even at the meat-heavy Southern restaurants that everyone loves!

Sleep is one of the most important things to consider as a singer. I tend to go to bed early and wake up early, and I aim to get nine hours of sleep a night. That hasn’t always been possible at Spoleto because of the demanding rehearsal schedules, but I try to avoid going out at night when I have an early rehearsal the next morning.

Also, it’s important to save voice as much as possible by singing down the octave, marking, or simply mouthing the words during rehearsals. It’s important, as a singer, to know my voice and its limits so that I don’t overexert myself before a performance.

Before a performance, I make sure I have adequate time to warm up. This includes Alexander Technique stretches to align my body, power stances to feel confident, and lots of vocalizing. I also like to incorporate positive mantras into my pre-performance routine, to put myself in the best possible mindset. A good performance requires being mentally, physically, and vocally warmed up.

Lyle Michael is a Goldring arts journalist at Syracuse University.