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Musician Gives Performing Insights

Photo: Sharon MabryFew students get the rare privilege to work one-on-one with a critically acclaimed recording artist. Four University of St. Thomas music students will get the opportunity to receive feedback on interpretation of musical texts, aspects of vocal technique and diction as it relates to their performance from internationally known singer and recording artist Sharon Mabry.

Invited to participate in a public master class are undergraduates Bethany Goldson, mezzo-soprano, and Phillip Todd King, tenor, and graduate students Vivian Jiminez-Burbano, soprano, and Kaci Timmons, soprano.


Dr. Brady Knapp, assistant professor of music and head of choral and vocal studies, said he had the good fortune to study with Mabry for a year after his undergraduate time at Vanderbilt University and before his graduate work at Rice University.

“She is a consummate music educator and first-class scholar, and she has had an international singing career,” he said. “It will be an honor to have one of my mentor teachers on campus working with our students.”


Mabry, an author and vocal pedagogue who has specialized in the performance of contemporary classical music and music by women composers, will give a master class and book signing from 4-6 p.m. on April 12 in Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon. Her book, “The Performing Life: A Singer’s Guide to Survival,” is the firsthand account of Mabry’s 35-year career as a singer, music professor and recording artist. The event is free and open to the public


“I have been a professional singer for more than 35 years, touring in recitals, opera and orchestra solo venues, and a teacher for 40 years at the university level,” Mabry said. “Having worked with many young would-be performers, I know they tend to see only the glamorous side of a performing career. Sometimes they don't think about all of the things one needs to be aware of when preparing for that career until the stress and pressure build up, and they crumble under all of it.”


In her book, Mabry draws on personal experience to explore how singers survive in the face of personal and professional pressures, exorbitant expectations, illness and public demands. She details factors that can change the course of a particular performance or an entire career. Mabry offers sage advice for singers to bolster themselves mentally, physically and emotionally to maintain their performance.


A professor of music at Austin Peay State University in Middle Tennessee, Mabry guides students daily to be better musicians and work smart and hard when perfecting their craft.


“I want to give them a guide with plenty of examples, built on my own experience, which will bring their attention to the fact that they must have good organization, a healthy lifestyle, excellent preparation and a good support system in order to lead a happy performing life,” she said.


In all instances, Mabry illustrates how perseverance, organization, attention to detail, excellent training, strong planning, a resilient support system and a good sense of humor can lead to a successful and satisfying career during even the most difficult times.


For more information about the book signing, contact 713-525-3159 or

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