March 17, 2014

Lift your voice and sing: Beverly Stewart Anderson

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a church that was putting on a Spring Musical Concert. Their main attraction was a lady by the name of Beverly Stewart Anderson. If you know me I enjoy all types of music but one of my favorite genres is classical music. I also enjoy listening to operas as well. Ms Anderson is a classically trained soprano and I had not heard of her before.

When we arrived at Rock Chapel AME Church I didn't know what to expect. It definitely looked more like a house because of the size and structure. My mother was invited by a former coworker and we arrived just a few minutes before the concert started. Introductions and a welcome was made by various church members. Apparently the entertainment that was to precede Ms. Anderson did not show but there was someone else there who was prepared to perform in their place and did a wonderful job.

Then Ms. Anderson was introduced to the crowd and can I just say that her voice was definitely something to behold. Her voice reminded me of Kathleen Battle. We were treated to some old negro spirituals and then some more modern songs. Between her songs she would tell stories. She also is a Minister of music at her own church and I tell ya the woman can preach! 

One story that really stood out to me was when she was in church one day and she had on an African head wrap. She was becoming a tad bit hot while singing and decided to take the head wrap off, well unfortunately her wig came off with it as well! When she realized that she could feel a draft going past her ears she looked back and realized her wig was inside the scarf. So she just laughed out loud with the rest of the congregation, turned around snatched her wig out of the scarf and plopped it right on her head and kept on singing. Now the real kicker was that this particular performance she was giving was also streaming on the church's website in which around nine thousand people were online and viewing. She stated she could have done one of two things: 1. walked off and be embarrassed or 2. laugh it off and continue. She chose to continue.

Her singing put chills down my spine but her words definitely spoke to my mind and heart. I actually recorded part of the last song she performed at the concert. I'll upload as soon as possible.

I wish she had a CD out of her voice but for now I will be just happy enjoying two other beautiful sopranos, Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman in my favorite performance of them: Spirituals in Concert.

The full video of their performance is here:

Besides these two powerful vocal ladies I also enjoy the amazing Denyce Graves.

Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman, Denyce Graves

But the Legend to Maria Callas 

I also enjoy Marion Anderson

Oh but then here this classic piece by Lily Pons

Performances such as these as well as the one given by Ms. Beverly Anderson are just simply amazing to me how the human voice can achieve such outrageous octaves.

Until the next episode....

 All That MsJazz
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