Soprano Alfrelynn J. Roberts will join the Lone Star Wind Orchestra on Sunday, September 22nd for a concert paying tribute to gospel, hymns, and spirituals.
We asked Alfrelynn to tell us a little bit about herself…
I have always lived in two different worlds; the arts and nonprofit/business. Since graduate school [Northwestern University, MM-Vocal Performance; Hampton University, BA-Vocal Performance], I worked to audition. What am I saying… I still work to audition. [Laughs] But I worked as the Assistant to the Kalamazoo City Manager, Director of Kalamazoo College Summer Programs and served as the Executive Vice President of a start-up sports and entertainment management firm. I also worked extensively on the boards of the Kalamazoo Civic Theater, Sacred Music Festival of Michigan, Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society, and Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch-NAACP. And when I moved back to Dallas about 8 years ago, I served as the District 3 Commissioner for the Dallas Cultural Arts Committee. Currently, I serve as the Southwestern Region Vice President and National Convention Director for the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. as well as a member of the United Methodist Church Building and Locations Committee for the Metro District.
I teach extensively in Dallas and Garland ISD, while continuing to perform as a concert artist and actress. Some of my stage/opera experience includes Mother Abbess (Sound of Music), Barbara Jordan (Voice of Good Hope), Vendetta Armistead (Holy Fire), Mrs. Muller (Doubt), Mabel (Crowns), Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica), Berta (The Barber of Seville). I have also been a featured soloist for Kalamazoo Singers, Kalamazoo Bach Festival, American Institute of Musical Studies Orchestra in Graz, Austria, Indiana University South Bend Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Battle Creek Symphony, and Grand Rapids Symphony and performed with Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Some of my TV/film credits include Harriet Tubman Documentary (documentary/animation), The Man from Mars (short film), Liberty’s Secret (independent film), Murder Made Me Famous: Selena (TV), and Reagan: From Movie Star to President (documentary). I am also the Artistic Director for the South Dallas Concert Choir (featured chorus for Dallas’ Kathleen Battle Concert) and will serve as this season’s Chorus Master for Fort Worth Opera. So…. I have a little bit on my plate. [Laughs]
What is a particularly memorable performance of yours?
I was singing a concert for the Bach Festival of Kalamazoo in the picturesque, window filled chapel on the campus of Kalamazoo College. We were under a tornado watch and the sirens went off when I was in the middle of a song. My teacher came on stage in the middle of my song, touched me on the back and made the announcement that we needed to move to the basement because a tornado had been spotted close to the performance hall. We all moved to the basement and I started the next section of the concert in the basement of the Chapel. Luckily, we weren’t there for the entire concert. Definitely an intimate concert setting.
As a teacher, what do you love about teaching high schoolers?
I have to say it’s when the light bulb goes off – when students grasp new concepts about their voices. That happens with my individual singers and with my choirs as well. I love the reaction I get from my choirs when they hear what I hear. That gives me goosebumps. Let’s me know I know what I’m doing. [Laughs]
Fun question… What piece of advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
At 16, I didn’t know the possibilities of what an opera career could be, so I was hesitant about it. I’d tell her: don’t get discouraged – just keep singing. And have fun! Life is too short! I was too serious as a kid. But I am making up for it now! [Laughs]