We hope you enjoy our new series we’re launching – Teacher Profiles! With our free concerts, our community of supporters can get to know the performers we have on stage, but there has not been an opportunity to meet our dedicated and talented Teaching Artists who work with our music education programs. This fun Q&A is chance to introduce you to them!
Who is your favorite composer to sing? That varies from time to time. It depends on what kind of mood I’m in. For classical, my favorite has got to be Puccini. When listening to music – when I’m in a jazzy kind of mood – I like to listen to Sarah Vaughan. In my car right now, I’m listening to a neo-soul artist named Avery Sunshine.
What do you love about teaching high school students? When the lightbulb goes off – when they get the concept I have been trying to teach them, and they finally hear what I’ve been hearing. It’s when they can grasp new things about their voices and hear what their voices can do.
Have you taught other ages? Yes, I have taught younger students in middle school, and I have taught at the college level. I was an adjunct professor at Cornerstone University in Michigan and at Kalamazoo College.
What is a particularly memorable recital of yours? Oh, I’ve got one! At Kalamazoo College, we were under a tornado watch and the sirens went off when I was in the middle of a song. My teacher came on stage while I was singing, and I thought, ‘What is he doing? Is he going to sing a duet with me?’ but he announced we had to evacuate. So we took the recital to the basement.
What piece of advice would you give 16-year-old Alfrelynn? Ooh! That’s a good question. At 16, I didn’t quite know what the possibilities of what an opera career could be, so I was hesitant about it. But, I loved to sing and study voice. I would tell my younger self: don’t get discouraged – just keep singing. And have fun! I was too serious as a kid.
What's your favorite sound (musical or non-musical)? Least favorite? My favorite sound would be rain, softly falling. My least favorite sound? I’d say my least favorite genre of music is punk rock. I just can’t find the music in it!
Once you leave this world and reach the pearly gates, what celestial concert are you looking forward to? I think it would have to be a concert of some of the folks who have left the world too soon. My high school choral director, Michael Terrell, had a beautiful falsetto voice – a voice you just don’t hear much of anymore – and I would like to hear him sing again. There are composers, too – Glenn Burleigh and Moses Hogan – whose work I would love to hear sung by a heavenly chorus.