Tell us about yourself and your musical background.
I grew up in Aurora, IL, the City of Lights. For as long as I could remember, I was singing. Every opportunity to sing or perform filled me with excitement, and I was committed. Throughout grade school and high school, I was a regular participant in talent shows and theatre productions. At my alma mater, East Aurora High School, I sang with our honors chorus and became an active member of the Tri-M Music National Honor Society where I worked to celebrate and bring music to all students in my district through concerts, plays, and musicals. I enrolled at Fisk University in the Fall of 2016 and began my first lessons in Classical Voice and pedagogy under the tutelage of Ms. Gwendolyn Brown, M.M.
What made you want to be a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers®?
When I walked onto the campus of Fisk University, my eyes immediately caught sight of the beautiful, majestic Jubilee Hall. The Original Fisk Jubilee Singers selflessly gave their all to sustain their institution and for scholars like me who would follow after and reap the fruit of all they endured. When I came to understand the magnitude of their sacrifice, perseverance, and faith, my heart was moved. I wanted to be a Fisk Jubilee Singer to continue a rich legacy of love, selflessness, and music that moves the spirit and soothes the soul. Their sacrifice is not only encased within the walls of Jubilee Hall, nicknamed “frozen music,” but also within my heart and in every note I sing.
What do you hope to learn and experience in your time as a Singer?
Above all, I hope to continue learning about the lives of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers and to carry on the knowledge of the sacred Spirituals they revealed to the world through singing. I want to continue to grow in my musicianship and enjoy my time performing with my fellow members of this year’s ensemble.
What are your future plans?
During my time at Fisk University, I have found grounding in the disciplines of English and Music with concentration in Voice. As a dual major, I am able to weave these two art forms together and find a deeper understanding of the music that speaks to a particular people or cultural group. After finding my passion for Ethnomusicology and Vocal performance, my educational and professional goals are focused towards earning a Ph.D. and branding myself in the field of professional vocal performance. As a first-generation student, the opportunity to study at an institution of higher learning is unique in the history of my family. Through perseverance and determination, I held onto my dreams of being all I can be. Fisk has made it possible for me to reach heights I could have never foreseen.