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December 1, 2010

Michigan Messiah: Meredith Arwady, contralto

By Meredith Arwady

It’s Messiah week at UMS–and extra special this year is our cast of soloists–all have Michigan connections! Some are Michigan natives, some are alumni from U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and some are both!

This week, we will feature a post from each Messiah soloist, where they will reflect on what it means to return to Michigan and sing in our annual tradition of Handel’s Messiah!

I was born in Saginaw, Michigan, and lived in North Muskegon and then Kalamazoo until college, when I attended Hope College in Holland, MI.

UofM has been a part of my life from the very beginning.  “You have to be taught, before it’s too late,” and I was taught to think ill of OSU and cheer for the Wolverines from childhood.  Our family would drive many weekends to attend football games, and there’s nothing like cheering along with 100,000+ fellow fans at the Big House.  I was there for that terrible “Hail Mary” pass in the Colorado game, and still get unhappy when I see a sports show touting “100 Greatest College Football Plays.”

It’s been several rough years for our football team, but at least we’re bowl game bound.  I’m also a Detroit Lions fan.  I have known suffering.

My current ring tone on my cell is a bold, brass version of “Hail to the Victors”.  I have had strange looks all across the country, and several not-so-nice comments.

My little sister Abigail Hodges is in her final year of med school at Michigan, and my brother-in-law Mark Hodges graduates in a few weeks from UofM with his PhD in Artificial Intelligence.  I am very proud of the fact that he has attended a match of every single male and female varsity sport.

As a high schooler in Kalamazoo, MI,  I would travel to UofM once every month or so to participate in a statewide choral group that Jerry Blackstone directed.  What a wonderful honor to be working with him once again!

And how great to be back in Ann Arbor.  I think a trip to Zingerman’s is in order.


Meredith Arwady is the contralto soloist in this year’s Messiah. She is a Michigan native and currently resides in Kalamazoo.