Penn Sophomore’s Singing Leads Him to the Berkshires

As a member of Mask and Wig, Max Levy’s voice can be heard around the University of Pennsylvania campus, but the bass/baritone has performed to audiences outside of campus, including the prestigious Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

A sophomore from Westchester, N.Y., Levy spent his second summer in a row as a member of the troupe, the resident chorus of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. He was in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, where the chorus performs  from June to mid-August. 

“It was just an unbelievable experience,” says Levy. “You sort of learn through osmosis when you’re surrounded by talented people.” 

Members of the 130-person chorus range in age from 19 to about 80, and Levy and two other college students were the youngest.

He auditioned for the chorus near the end of his senior year in high school and performed with the group before he arrived at Penn for freshman year. This past year, he was asked to return for a second summer.

In the Berkshires, Levy and fellow chorus members would rehearse from two-to-seven hours every day, depending on the size of the concert material. But, after rehearsals were completed, they were free to explore the Berkshires, where the Boston Symphony has its own private beach. Levy swam in the lake, canoed and hiked. 

“Besides the fact that it’s pretty awesome to sing for 20,000 people with one of the best symphonic orchestras in the world, I get to have my own summer vacation at the same time,” says Levy, who’s considering majoring in philosophy, politics and economics in the School of Arts & Sciences.

On campus, Levy is very active in Mask and Wig, performing at its originally produced shows and at events on and off campus. One of the troupe’s most recent performances was a free show on Aug. 29 at Zellerbach Theater for freshmen and transfer students. 

“A lot of people come to Penn and have heard of Mask and Wig,” says Levy. “Through invitations on Facebook and word of mouth, we attract a lot of attention and get people to know who we are early.”

Singing is such a passion for Levy that he will continue performing outside Penn during the school year. He plans to audition with Opera Delaware in Wilmington, Opera Philadelphia and the Baltimore Lyric Opera.

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