My name is Patricia Kitchell and I teach K through 8 vocal music as well as direct church choirs. Over twenty years ago when I was at the height of my teaching and singing career, I developed severe SD. I had absolutely no pitch or sound whatsoever left in my voice. When I tried to speak, all that one could hear were airy breathing sounds. I was devastated; much like a person becoming paralyzed. I could not speak and I could not sing. I traveled from one specialist to another, from one hospital to another desperate to regain sound and continue with life. Everything that I did, came to a halt without a voice. I was given all kinds of advice. "Don't drink hot liquids, or cold liquids."
"Rest your voice."(Really?What voice?) "Don't try to clear your throat." Best of all, "Don't speak or sing louder than those in a room with you." (Again, really?) I was at rock-bottom. Someone had suggested that I try the "quick-fix" of Broadway Stars. They go to a gentleman in NYC (who shall remain nameless) and have salmonella bacteria from the combs of chickens injected directly into their voicebox to get it shaking again. I was so desperate to speak and sing that I actually entertained the notion of trying this. The cost was prohibitive and that kept me from jeopardizing my health with this dangerous treatment.
God was truly watching over me and heard my prayers. One day, a student of Alma Mae Vajas' told me of her Vocal Behavior Training Method. From the moment I entered Alma's studio, I felt a sense of belonging and a peacefulness that defies description. She worked with me and educated me about my atrophied vocalism. I tried so hard to exercise that I had tears streaming down both sides of my face from the stitching in my throat. She looked at me and with complete confidence she told me "Patti, I CAN FIX YOU!" To say that was music to my ears and heart sounds trite and corny, but believe me, I will NEVER forget those words from Alma.
The VBT method is unequaled in the field of speech and singing. The rebuilding of my vocalism to a voice broader and stronger than ever before has been a wonderful journey with Alma. She is still always learning and researching new techniques and exercises for the many degrees of ability and inability of her students. Her studio is a place of vibrance, warmth and hope for all who visit. This method has given me such control over my voice that even under the most intense musical situations, I never lose my voice. Never! My work as a Sacred Music Director for a large church in Northern NJ is vocally demanding. Combined with a teaching schedule and regular family life there are many opportunities to abuse the voice. The VBT exercises are not only successful, they are a relaxing change from the pace of the day.
If you speak or sing for your career or just for personal growth, this method is like taking your voice to the gym. You exercise the rest of your body....why not your vocal muscles? It is truly the ONLY thing that helped me. Alma Vajas and VBT gave me back my life and I thank God for her everyday! I do. Amen!