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Megan Willaims

Roosevelt voice student gets big break, singing major soprano solo in Guadalajara, Mexico

Posted: 06/15/2012

A Roosevelt University vocal performance student will make the solo debut of her life in early July in Guadalajara, Mexico, thanks to a connection she made last spring with one of the world’s leading up-and-coming conductors, Alondra de la Parra.

Soprano Megan Rose Williams, who begins her second year this fall in Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts- Chicago Opera Theater Professional Diploma in Opera program, will sing the soprano solo in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2  (“Resurrection”), accompanied by the Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco and conducted by de la Parra on July 6 and 8 in Guadalajara.

“I was incredibly surprised and extremely honored to be asked to be a part of this production,” said Williams, a native of Corvallis, Ore., who studies at Roosevelt with Professor of Voice Judith Haddon.

One of the winners of last academic year’s student solo competition at Chicago College of Performing Arts, Williams met de la Parra in April in rehearsals for Maurice Ravel’s Shéhérezade, which she sang with the CCPA Symphony Orchestra at Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago’s Pilsen community and in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago.

Guest conductor for both CCPA concerts, de la Parra is the founder and artistic director of the New York-based Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas and has directed the New World Symphony, the Houston and San Antonio Orchestras, the Singapore Sun Festival Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra, among others.  She was so impressed by Williams’ musicianship, vocal ability and passion that she extended the invitation to the singer on the spot.

“To win our student soloist competition is one thing; to be engaged for professional singing based on a performance that came out of the competition is truly extraordinary,” said Henry Fogel, dean of CCPA. “This is also a very significant accomplishment for our college, where our entire purpose is to prepare students for professional careers,” he said.

Williams also was invited by de la Parra to sing Mozart’s Mass in C Minor during the Aug. 23-25 Music Festival of the Americas in Stowe, Vt.

“I learned a very good lesson from the experience, and that is this: It is really important to be prepared for absolutely anything,” Williams said. “It’s critical to treat every performance as if you are on stage at Carnegie Hall, and to be professional and polite in all you do because you never know who’s listening,” she added.