January 29, 2019 Artist to Watch: Kay White
Hitting all the right notes
Kay White has been singing like a bird for her whole life and eventually dedicated herself to it. Now an opera singer, she helps others appreciate musical theatre and singing through performances with her cohort at Baton Rouge Early Vocal Ensemble. She will be teaching a class here at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge in the spring as well. We took some time to talk to Kay about her early years and her background in this week’s Artist to Watch:
Were you always into the arts?
Yes!! My natural inclination is to try to express myself and to communicate with others, and the arts have always helped to facilitate this for me in too many ways to count!
What forms did that take when you were young?
My parents say that I always sang with any commercial on TV or sang along with the radio. Due to their musical choices, I gained a keen appreciation of music from the 60’s and 70’s. I began piano lessons at age 8, and then took drumming lessons from age 11 on. But it was singing that was the most natural musical expression for me, though it was the one that took the most time to develop and the one that I was most hesitant to do publicly! I sang in church, then joined the choir in high school and finally began to get a bit more comfortable singing in public by myself.
When did you first start moving towards music and theatre?
In college, I was cast in Crazy for You by George and Ira Gershwin. It was magical for me, and I was just a showgirl and chorus member! After that, I was hooked. Throughout my studies I ended up going the opera route with musical theatre pit stops along the way.
Did you seek out formal training?
Voice lessons for me began in college for my bachelors of music degree in vocal performance, then a masters degree and finally earning a doctorate of musical arts degree from The University of Kentucky. After all of that time honing in on technique and performance practice, it is teaching that opened up a more informal and experience-based way of music for me. It was good for me to realize that what was an organic growth out of my formal training was just as right and just as valid in my artistic development.
What do you think of the resources available in the greater Baton Rouge region?
I think there are so many great artists in Baton Rouge and that they are the greatest resources we could possibly ask for! So many people that I have met just by attending concerts, plays, and musical events have been a huge source of inspiration for me.
Do you have any projects coming up?
I am working on expanding my private voice studio! I am adapting my teaching to include a more comprehensive view of voice that is built around the idea of musical, emotional, and personal growth.
Where can folks go to see your work in person, or online?
I consistently perform with the Baton Rouge Early Vocal Ensemble, or B.R.E.V.E. We will be presenting a series of Lenten concerts in the area throughout March. I am also teaching a series of classes for the Arts Council about Musical Theatre, its history, important works, and impact on society. In terms of solo programs, I hope to have some planned for late spring or summer.