Vesper Choir assistant conductor to give solo recital


Melissa Davis, Vesper Choir assistant conductor and voice instructor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, will give a solo recital entitled, “A Night Around the World: An evening of American, European and Jamaican Art Music”, at 8 p.m. Thursday in the John M. Ross Theatre of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Building.

“It promises to be an evening of an eclectic mixture of music, with the art music of Europe, Jamaica and the United States, in Western art traditions, Jamaican folk styles and the African-American Negro Spiritual,” said Davis, a mezzo soprano. “I will be singing the works of Bach, Handel, Ravel, Granados, a Jamaican composer named Peter Ashbourne and negro spirituals by Hall Johnson.”

A native of Canada, Davis received her bachelor of fine arts degree, with honors, in vocal performance at York University, Toronto, and her master of music degree in vocal performance and literature at the University of Illinois, where she is currently completing a doctor of musical arts degree.

She was selected for the Gregynog Festival Master Class Program in Wales in 2001. She is also the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships from York University, the University of Illinois, the NATS Auditions, Kiwanis Music, and Newmarket Voice Festivals. In 2009, she was awarded the Krannert Center Debut Artist Award by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Illinois, the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, and was the 2009 winner of the First National American Spirituals Competition in Buffalo, N.Y.

Davis has toured internationally as a soloist and choir member with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale performing in France, the United States, and North, East and Western Canada. This year she was an invited guest soloist at the Jamaica Institute, Kingston, Jamaica, during the nation’s 50th year of Independence celebrations.

A dynamic concert soloist, Davis has played lead and principal roles in various opera productions in Canada and the United States, and has guest soloed with various choirs and orchestras throughout North America, performing the alto lead in Handel’s Messiah; Vivaldi’s Gloria; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2; numerous Bach Cantatas and the roles of Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, and in 2010, she guest soloed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in their Summer Festival concert series at Niagara Falls State Park. Her artistry has been recognized with frequent appearances on CBC Radio and Vision TV, Canada.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the event, call 870-575-7001.