Michigan Messiah: Jerry Blackstone, conductor
What a treat for me to welcome these four wonderful singers to the Hill Auditorium stage and our 2010 performances of Messiah. I’ve known three of them since their high school days and one of them since his undergraduate years at the University of Michigan. They are all mature artists now and I am so looking forward to working with them again and introducing them to our wonderful UMS Messiah audience.
I met Caitlin when she was a high school singer in the University of Michigan All-State High School Choir at Interlochen. I conducted the choir for 17 summers, and I remember thinking Caitlin had potential from the moment I heard her sing. As an undergraduate student in vocal performance in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan, Caitlin sang in the Chamber Choir, which I conduct, and I watched her grow in poise and confidence and her voice grow in size and timbre. When I heard her sing recently and watched her YouTube clips, I knew we had to have her sing Messiah with us.
Meredith grew up in Michigan and I met her when she sang in the University of Michigan All-State High School Choir at Interlochen. Her outgoing, vibrant personality and incredible vocal gifts were immediately apparent and I have kept my eyes on her career. I recently saw the video production of John Adams’ terrific opera, Dr. Atomic, recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera, and there was Meredith singing one of the leads! I knew immediately that we should try to engage her for a Messiah weekend, and I am very pleased it worked out.
Ann Arbor native Nicholas Phan sang with me as a high school student in the Michigan Youth Chamber Singers, a choral ensemble I conducted for many years here in Ann Arbor. Nicholas’ voice was already very beautiful. During his student days in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan, Nick sang in the Chamber Choir, which I conduct, and had many solos with the ensemble and in SMTD productions. His career has blossomed and I am so pleased that he will be our tenor soloist for this year’s Messiah. I will always remember a Messiah the Chamber Choir sang with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra several years back, when Nick was a member of the tenor section in the ensemble. Could they SING! Now, HE’S out front, and it is a thrill to welcome him home.