Rabbi Richard Allen, Ph.D.
For the last twenty-one years I have been the Cantor of one of the largest (Reform) congregations in the U.S. In that capacity I have had to sing on Friday evening, Saturday morning and very often Saturday afternoon services. In addition I have had to sing sometimes two weddings on the weekend.
It goes without saying that I have to be in good voice all the time. This is not always the case, I am only human. But I try.
About six years ago I called Dr. Morton Cooper, the finest speech pathologist (an anathema to most laryngologists) in the country. I had worked with him in 1985 after a vocal fold paralysis. He literally gave me back my voice in 1985. I have not had a problem singing or speaking since.
About eight years ago I called Mort, with whom I have a very close and good relationship. I complained about "the allergies that were driving me crazy and preventing my singing well in the morning." Morton told me to go to a physician-directed exercise program at a local hospital to learn how to work out properly. He predicted that my allergies, which are quite real, would bother me no longer and that I would reap great benefits from the aerobic exercise.
Those of you who get the Journal of Singing (formerly the NATS Bulletin), may have read his articles on "Vocal Suicide in the Speaking Voice of Singers," "Vocal Suicide in the Speaking Voice of Actors," etc., and many other articles as well as books know whereof I speak.
His first mass-market book was Change Your Voice, Change Your Life. It is excellent and still in paperback. His latest is Stop Committing Voice Suicide. I'm not advertising for Dr. Cooper. He doesn't need it. He is called "The Voice Coach to the Stars." It is quite excellent. The list of hollywood personalities and stars he has helped would blow your minds.
If you don't believe me, read Jerry Hines book, Great Singers on Great Singing. Jerry devotes a chapter to Mort Cooper because Mort gave him back his voice as well.
RICHARD ALLEN, Ph.D.