Three talented, well known regional vocalists will share some musical fun in a special “Appalachian Divas” concert Sunday, Jan. 31, at Tusculum College.
Sopranos Jennifer Barnett and Jill Jones and mezzo soprano Kristin Small will perform together in a concert that will feature a range of music from opera arias to show tunes from popular musicals to American standards.
The concert will be at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building on the Tusculum campus. The performance is part of Tusculum College Arts Outreach’s 2009-10 Acts, Arts, Academia performance and lecture series.
The three vocalists, who have known each other since the 1990s and first sang together as part of the Knoxville Opera Company, will be performing some of their favorite pieces. The program will begin with arias from operas such as “Susannah,” “I Puritani” and “Carmen” and feature favorite tunes from musicals such as “West Side Story,” “Nunsense” and “Showboat.” The concert will conclude with patriotic standards.
The vocalists have enjoyed working and putting the program together. “Don’t expect the typical recital,” Jones says.
Her compatriots are two very talented vocalists, Small says, and the three vocalists have a deep appreciation for each others’ talents.
One of the special things about the concert, they agree, is the opportunity to not only perform together but to also choose the program, something that even featured performers rarely have the chance to do.
“It is special for us, and we hope that comes through the audience as well,” Barnett says.
In addition to choosing pieces they wanted to sing, the vocalists selected music that would not only represent the region but the country as well, she added.
Barnett, a native of Greeneville, completed a bachelor of arts in music from Emory & Henry College. During her undergraduate years, Jennifer was a soloist with the college’s choirs including the touring Concert Choir that performed in Brazil. While at Emory & Henry, she also sang with the Bristol Concert Choir. Her stage experience includes roles in “The Crucible” and “Where’s Charley?” as well as the lead role in “Susannah.” Barnett was selected to participate in a Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop in 2000 and had the opportunity to work under James Conlon, conductor with the Paris Opera Company.
She earned her master’s degree in voice from Indiana University. While at Indiana, she sang roles in “Turn of the Screw,” “Cosi fan Tutti” and “Le Nozze di Figaro.” Barnett is the director of education and community partnerships for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. She sang her Masterworks debut with the orchestra in 2004 in DeFalla’s “Tri-Cornered Hat” and has since performed Mozart’s “Impressario” Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and two sets of American songs on the Knoxville Symphony Chamber series last year. She has also performed with the Oak Ridge Symphony. Barnett is an ensemble member of the Knoxville Opera Company. In addition, she teaches music appreciation for Tusculum College’s Gateway program in Knoxville. Barnett also has ties to Tusculum through her father, Dan Barnett, who is an associate professor of chemistry at the college.
Jones has sung with the Greater Greeneville Chorale and has appeared in many theatre productions at Tusculum College, including the role of the mother in “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” She has appeared in several Little Theatre of Greeneville productions including “The Fantasticks,” “The Sound of Music” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
In 1993 and 1995 she was a soprano soloist with the Knoxville Chamber Orchestra, and in 2006 she was a soprano soloist with the Johnson City Symphony. In 1997, she sang the role of Monica in the Johnson City Area Arts Council’s production of “The Medium.” Her many solo oratorio appearances include requiems by Rutter, Mozart, Duruflé and Brahms, Schubert’s “Mass in G,” Handel’s “Messiah” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” Currently she sings with the Knoxville Opera, the Civic Chorale, Tusculum College Community Chorus and First Presbyterian Church of Greeneville. Jones is director of Academic Advising at Tusculum College. The native of Newport News, Va., holds a master of arts in adult education and a bachelor of arts in biology/mathematics with a minor in vocal performance from Tusculum College.
As a mezzo-soprano, Small has performed on numerous stages throughout the southeast, singing in both the musical theater and opera venue. She has performed such roles as Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta “The Mikado,” Julie LaVerne in Jerome Kern’s “Showboat” and Guinevere in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederic Loewe’s “Camelot.” Locally, Small has sung the roles of Ado Annie in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma,” and Sister Robert Anne in Dan Goggin’s “Nunsense,” “Nunsense II”, and “Nuncrackers.” Small has been rostered with the Knoxville Opera Company for 15 years, where she can be seen in the current production of “Lucia de Lammermoor.”
Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 60 years of age and older, and $5 for children 12 and under. For more information, contact Tusculum College Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://arts.tusculum.edu.