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Nine emerging artists to train with Blythe at Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar


POTSDAM - Kelly Ballou, a soprano from Shepherdsville, Ky., is among only nine rising musicians chosen from a national search to take part in the 2013 Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar.

Now in its second season, the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar will feature the local artist in masterclasses and concerts from May 20 to May 26, at The Crane School of Music at The State University of New York at Potsdam. Audiences will be able to take in world-class recital performances throughout the week.

Metropolitan Opera star Stephanie Blythe ‘92 co-founded the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, along with Executive Director Dr. Carleen Graham, a professor of opera at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. The unique program, which is in residence at the College, is a venue for emerging singers and pianists to cultivate their artistry through contemporary American art song.

Six singers and three pianists (ages 23 to 35) were selected from a competitive national audition to work with Blythe and Music Director Dr. Alan Smith, a noted pianist, vocal coach and composer.

The 2013 Fall Island participants include:

■ Kelly Ballou, a soprano from Shepherdsville, Ky.

■ Bretton Brown, a pianist from Murray, Ky.

■ Andrew Fuchs, a tenor from Kansas City, Mo.

■ Bradley King, a baritone from Denton, Texas

■ Laura Mercado-Wright, a mezzo-soprano from Austin, Texas

■ Diana Newman, a soprano from Malibu, Calif.

■ Yi Kai Sim, a pianist from Singapore

■ Peter Walsh, a pianist from San Diego, Calif.

■ Jennifer Youngs, a soprano from Overland Parks, Kan.

The nine emerging artists will take part in an immersive series of coaching sessions, masterclasses, lectures and recitals. The Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar is aimed at reinvigorating individual artistry through American art song, by energizing emerging artists of unique and promising ability.

Blythe and her frequent collaborator Craig Terry will present “We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith” at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music on at 7:30 p.m. May 21 in a special performance to benefit the seminar. The recital was featured on a recent PBS broadcast of “Live from Lincoln Center.”

Tickets for “We’ll Meet Again” are $25 for the general public and $20 for SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff and students. All proceeds will benefit the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar. Contact the Community Performance Series Box Office at (315) 267-2277 or visit to purchase tickets.

There will be two public masterclasses featuring Blythe and Smith working with the Fall Island participants, on May 23 and May 24. The public masterclasses will both be held from 10 a.m. to noon in Snell Theater.

“The Music of Alan Louis Smith,” a lecture-recital featuring the composer and the seminar participants, will be offered at 7 p.m. May 23 in the Ralph Wakefield Recital Hall.

A culminating recital featuring the seminar participants will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 25 in Snell Theater. These events are free, educational and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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