“William Warfield: A Legacy in Music,” an annual concert that continues the legacy of late opera singer William Warfield and supports the William Warfield Scholarship Fund, will be held in the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall on Sunday, Jan. 12, at 4 p.m. Soprano Joel Dyson, who was the scholarship recipient both last year and this year, will be featured on the program.
The William Warfield Scholarship Fund was formed in 1977 to provide financial aid to talented and deserving voice students who attend the Eastman School of Music. Past recipients have included the first recipient, baritone Derrick Smith, who has performed in operatic roles and as a concert soloist in the United States, Brazil, and Europe; soprano Nicole Cabell, who in 2005 won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, one of the music world’s highest-profile competitions; and bass-baritone Jamal Moore, who was featured with the University of Rochester a cappella ensemble The Yellowjackets on the NBC competition The Sing-Off in 2011.
“I am very honored to be chosen again to receive this scholarship. I work tirelessly to make the William Warfield family and donors proud to have me as the recipient,” said Dyson, a senior at Eastman who performs at churches and organizations that support the scholarship and mentors and teaches students in the Rochester community.
A student of Professor of Voice Robert McIver, Dyson has received freshman, sophomore, and junior jury awards and the School’s Ornest Award, presented to a voice student for excellence in musical and academic studies. In her sophomore year, she was one of seven vocal students chosen to represent Eastman in the prestigious Conservatory Project at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She was Dorinda in Eastman Opera Theatre’s production of Handel’s Orlando in January 2013, and will portray Sister Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites in April 2014.
Dyson will perform works by Debussy, Massenet, and Gershwin as well as several traditional spiritual songs for the Jan. 12 William Warfield Scholarship Benefit Concert. The program also features vocalist Thomas Warfield, founder of PeaceArt International and assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf; pianist Tim Schramm; spoken word artist Reenah Golden; violinist Christopher Brewley; the Mt. Hope World Singers under director Allison Thorp; the Sean McLeod Dance Experience; and the Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church Male Chorus.
In addition, audience members will hear a recording of William’s Warfield’s Nov. 18, 1942, recital, in which he performed works by Monteverdi, Mazzaferrata, and Bach, and will see a video presentation titled “Remembering William Warfield . . .”
William Warfield was known worldwide for his work as a soloist, recitalist, actor, and narrator. Born in Arkansas, he moved to Rochester with his family as a young boy and attended Rochester city schools. During his senior year, he won the National Music Educators League Competition and a full scholarship to any American music school of his choice. Warfield chose the Eastman School of Music, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1942 and 1946, respectively. Perhaps best known for his portrayals of Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and of Joe, the dock hand, in the movie Showboat, he won a Grammy Award in 1984 for his narration of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait accompanied by the Eastman Philharmonia. Warfield died in 2002 at the age of 82.
Tickets to the concert are $15 for the general public ($10 with student ID), and are available at the door. They are also sold in advance at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St., by phone (585-454-2100), or online at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets/.
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