George Shirley Scholarship Fundraiser George Shirley Scholarship Fundraiser





George Shirley Scholarship Fundraiser

A Heritage Holiday Concert

  • $35 Assigned Rows 1-2
  • $25 Assigned Rows 3-5
  • $20 General Admission
  • $10 Student
  • Freda Herseth, mezzo-soprano
  • Latoya Lain, soprano
  • Bradley Baker, baritone
  • Kathryn Goodson, piano
  • Matthew Thompson, piano
  • Casey Robards, piano
  • Will Patterson's Our Own Thing Chorale
  • 2017 Scholarship Competition Contestants

Event Details

Hear emerging and established star singers perform traditional and seasonal music by African American composers. This concert is a fundraiser for recipients of the George Shirley Scholarship. The scholarship was established by students in honor of Emeritus Professor of Voice (University of Michigan), former Metropolitan Opera singer, and National Medal of Arts awardee George Shirley.

Freda Herseth

Freda Herseth (mezzo-soprano) has sung critically acclaimed leading roles in opera throughout Germany. She has performed with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout Europe, Russia and Israel, including the La Scala Opera Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti in the world premiere of Richard Wernick's . . . and a time for peace, the Israel Sinfonietta, the Stuttgart State Theater Orchestra in the world premiere of William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, New York New Music Ensemble, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and The Folger Consort of Washington, D.C.

Well known for her work in contemporary music, Professor Herseth has premiered many works written especially for her. She has performed at the Vienna Festival, Warsaw Autumn Festival, Festival d'Automne at the Bastille Opera in Paris, Steirischer Herbst in Graz, and with the American Music Theater Festival of Philadelphia. Ms. Herseth has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a stipend from the Richard Wagner Society in Bayreuth.

Ms. Herseth has recorded for CRI, Gasparo, South German Radio and Television, Hessen Radio (Frankfurt), Bavarian Radio (Munich), ORF Austrian Radio and Television, RAI Italian Radio, and Northeastern Records. She was recently honored at the Voice Foundation Annual International Symposium in Philadelphia with the award of the Van Lawrence Fellowship for research and excellence in the field of vocal pedagogy.

Ms. Herseth studied with Jan DeGaetani at the Eastman School of Music.

Latoya Lain

Dr. LaToya Lain, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, studied voice at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, Florida State University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a former Assistant Professor of Vocal Music at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama and has also served on the faculties of New York University, Alabama A&M University, and Medgar Evers College-City University of New York. Dr. Lain’s rich mezzo-soprano voice has afforded her the opportunity to perform throughout the United States and internationally. She has graced the stages of Africa, Europe, and South America, performing such roles as the title role of Carmen, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Baba in The Medium, and Tituba in The Crucible. She was the requested soloist to sing The National Anthem for President Barack Obama during his 2012 campaign visit to Nevada. She also recently performed as the mezzo soloist in Bob Jones University’s performance of The Verdi Requiem. One reviewer remarked, “the guest singers did a marvelous job…I’m particularly biased toward the mezzo-soprano, who was extremely classy and had a wonderfully rich voice.”

Her awards include Encouragement Awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Gerda Lissner Foundation Scholarship Competition in New York City. She has received both first and second places in the National Association of Teachers for Singing Vocal Competitions and earned a full scholarship to attend the International School of the Performing Arts in Pennsylvania. In addition to being an effective voice teacher, one of her ministries is to continue to promote and preserve the art of the Negro Spiritual, and to that end, she has performed and recorded with The Moses Hogan Chorale and is currently a touring member of The American Spiritual Ensemble.

Bradley Baker

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Baritone Bradley Baker moved to Los Angeles to study music. He attended The University of Southern California where he did OEDIPUS REX , COSI FAN TUTI and LA CLEMENZA DI TITO. Bradley performed in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas for over 25 years. He shared his rich Baritone voice in several operas, oratorios, musicals, concerts and guest artist performances in more than 35 countries. Mr. Baker specializes in styles ranging from Negro Spirituals to Opera and Soul music.

Bradley favors opera and musical theater. He opened two world premier operas, ISRAEL by Mark Peterson, and William Grant Still's opera, COSTASO. He has sung the role of Porgy in staged productions of PORGY and BESS and Husky Miller in CARMEN JONES on National and International tours with the famed Albert Mc Neil Jubilee Singers.

Some of Mr. Baker's musical theater credits include Old Deuteronomy in CATS, God in the world premier of CREATION, Simon of Cyrene in THE GLORY OF EASTER and the Shepherd in THE GLORY OF CHRISTMAS at the Crystal Cathedral. He has played Oberon in PHANTOM, King Melchoir in AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS. Tiny Joe/Jerry in DREAM GIRLS, RAGTIME, the role of Jim in BIG RIVER, Negro in GREASEPAINT and Sir Lionel in CAMELOT.

Bradley has produced 3 CDs: Not A Word, In This Field and Christmas Spirit. For more information on Mr. Baker visit 

Kathryn Goodson

Pianist Kathryn Goodson, an international performer, teacher and coach, has performed collaborative recitals with vocalists and instrumentalists throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. In her Ann Arbor, Michigan community, she is a coach for the University of Michigan School of Music and a regular ensemble performer for both the Ann Arbor and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. Her teaching projects include an annual course in American Art Song at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe and a master class offered to American schools, Songs4Winds. Her collaborative playing has been documented on CDs released by Innova, Albany and Equilibrium. Belle Nuit, a 2-CD set of romantic French music curated and produced by Goodson, was released by Parma-Navona Records with NAXOS distribution in 2014. Performance partners are bass trombonist Randall Hawes, saxophonists Timothy McAllister and Donald Sinta, and hornist Gail Williams.

Will Patterson's Our Own Thing Chorale

Named for its founder and director Willis Patterson, an Ann Arbor native and U-M Professor Emeritus, the chorale has performed for more than 30 years throughout the State of Michigan and beyond. With a culturally diverse membership that represents varied careers and a wide range of musical experience, the Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale is committed to the preservation and performance of old African American spirituals as well as traditional contemporary choral compositions written and/or arranged by African American composers and musicians. They also work to raise funds for the Our Own Thing Instructional Program.

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