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Blythe, Lattimore join forces for gala concert at SUNY Potsdam to benefit Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar


POTSDAM - SUNY Potsdam alumnae Stephanie Blythe ‘92 and Margaret Lattimore ‘91 will join forces for a gala concert to benefit the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar at their alma mater.

The two celebrated mezzo-sopranos will team up with pianist and composer Alan Louis Smith for the opening gala concert at 7:30 p.m. May 20 Entitled “America Sings!: With Stephanie Blythe, Margaret Lattimore, Alan Louis Smith and You!,” the concert will be offered in the Proscenium Theater at SUNY Potsdam’s new Performing Arts Center.

The “America Sings!” concert will encourage audience participation and will feature Americana favorites from across the ages. Blythe and Lattimore will also perform a song cycle composed by Smith.

This special concert is the opening public event for the 2014 Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar. Now in its third season, the seminar was founded by Blythe 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 autonomous artistry through the study and performance of contemporary American art song. This year, the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar will return to Crane from May 19 to May 24. Six singers and three pianists (ages 23-35) from across the country were selected through a competitive, national audition to work with Blythe and Smith for the 2014 festival.

Tickets for “America Sings!” 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 to purchase tickets. Tickets may also be purchased at the CPS Box Office in SUNY Potsdam’s Performing Arts Center, or at Northern Music & Video in downtown Potsdam.

This year’s Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar will feature three public masterclasses, where Blythe and Smith will work with the Fall Island participants. The masterclasses will be offered at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. May 22 and at 10 a.m. May 23 in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at The Crane School of Music.

A culminating recital featuring the seminar Fellows will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 24 in Snell Theater. These educational events are free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

About the performers:

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe ‘92 is considered to be one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Last year, Blythe and guest artist Craig Terry delighted an enthusiastic crowd with their concert, “We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith,” which was also televised on PBS in April 2013. This season she returned to the Metropolitan Opera for the new production of “Falstaff” and made her debut at the San Diego Opera in “Un Ballo in Maschera.” She also appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic and toured the U.S. with Les Violons du Roy. This summer, she will play the role of Gertrude Stein in the world premiere of the opera “Twenty-Seven” by composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Royce Vavrek, at Opera Theater St. Louis. In addition to singing operatic roles, Blythe has long been a champion of American song, and performs often in recital around the country.

Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore ‘91 has been praised for her “glorious instrument” and as an “undisputed star ... who has it all” by the Boston Globe. While she began her career singing the florid works of Handel, Rossini and Mozart, Lattimore has expanded her repertoire in recent seasons to include the works of Mahler, Verdi and Wagner, making her one of the most versatile mezzo-sopranos performing today. New music has been central to Lattimore’s career, and she has been honored to work with some the most gifted American composers in the 20th and 21st centuries. In 2012, Lattimore returned to her alma mater as a guest artist for the inaugural Lougheed Festival of the Arts, and sang as a soloist alongside the Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center.

Alan Louis Smith enjoys a reputation as one of the country’s most highly regarded figures in the field of collaborative artistry. At the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, he serves as the director of the Keyboard Collaborative Arts Program. Smith has been a member of the vocal coaching staff at the Tanglewood Music Center for the past 25 years, and was most recently the coordinator of the piano program, for which he held a named chair as the Marian Douglas Martin Master Teacher. His own compositions for voice and piano have received numerous performances by some of the world’s most acclaimed artists, in such venues as Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

About the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar:

Now in its third season, the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar provides a venue for emerging young singers and collaborative pianists to cultivate their love of art song and the collaborative experience. Led by Metropolitan Opera star Stephanie Blythe as Artistic Director, and Music Director Alan Smith, along with Executive Director Carleen Graham and Associate Director Audrey Saccone, the seminar has invited six singers and three pianists to Potsdam, for a week of intimate and intensive study. To learn more about the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, visit

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