New U Graduate Vocal Quartet Delights Audiences Large & Small
The School of Music's newest ensemble impresses on many levels – not just as individual musicians, but also as a unique addition for the U.
"Most universities have a string quartet, but far fewer have a vocal quartet," says Melissa Heath, a DMA student who makes up one-fourth of the U's new Graduate Vocal Quartet.
As a group of singing ambassadors and entertainers, membership in this prestigious ensemble allows our finest doctoral students to perform throughout the community, developing their talents as they go. Baritone Daniel Tuutau, tenor Lucas Goodrich and mezzo-soprano Demaree Brown join soprano Melissa Heath in the quartet.
Last year, the Graduate Vocal Quartet performed at locales large and small including local high schools, Kingsbury Hall, Rotary Club, for an exclusive dinner with PAC-12 representatives from around the country, and from an open carriage in the Days of '47 parade.
As a great tool to promote recruitment, the quartet aims to show students state-wide what a fantastic music program we have at the U and to encourage them to come and audition.
"We answer their questions about what it is like to be a music major and to have a career in music," explains Heath.
To prepare for the limelight, the quartet is required to learn, memorize and perform quartets, duets and solos of all kinds – from opera and jazz to musical theater and everything in between. They rehearse twice a week together, on top of spending much of their own time translating text and learning music.
First-year DMA student Daniel Tuutau appreciates the opportunity to work so closely with his fellow singers. "Each member of the ensemble has such a wealth of expertise and knowledge that it's a great melting pot of ideas and experimentation."
Each quartet member auditioned for a spot and came with an impressive musical resume. Daniel Tuutau came from University of California, Santa Barbara and recently performed in Copland's The Tender Land, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Donizetti's Viva La Mamma.
Melissa Heath recently won the 2012 NATS District Competition and sang the soprano lead in Ballet West's production of Carmina Burana. Lucas Goodrich has appeared as a soloist with the Ft. Collins Symphony, Arvada Center Chorale and Plymouth Chamber Ensemble.
Demaree Brown sang the roles of Angelina in La Cenerentola, Ottavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly.
In exchange for representing the U, the quartet gains performance experience, builds their repertoires and receives coaching from distinguished faculty.
"We are able to meet and get to know many wonderful people, further prepare ourselves for our careers as professional singers and professors, and get the chance to learn and perform some of the most beautiful music on the planet," emphasizes Heath.
To inquire about scheduling an event or find out more information about the Graduate Vocal Quartet, e-mail UofUVocalQuartet@gmail.com.