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April 18, 2024

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    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
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    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

Grad sings in Carnegie Hall

The goal of the Marilyn Horne Foundation is to promote and preserve beautiful voices, and starting today one of those voices belongs to Kisma Jordan – a second-year graduate student at the University, who has been studying voice for 13 years.

Jordan has been invited to perform in a master class with famed mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne today in Carnegie Hall. The event is part of a weeklong six-event series of recitals and master classes being held there, entitled, “The Song Continues…”.

Horne met Jordan last fall when she came to the University for the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies at the University.

After hearing Jordan sing, Horne was so impressed with the University student that she wanted to help her begin her career, so she gave Jordan an invitation to the “Big Apple.”

For Jordan, singing has always been a passion, but it was only six years ago that she began to consider it as a career.

“I never really thought about it [singing] – I just always did it, I just always sang,” she said.

But when Jordan was an undergraduate at Kentucky State University studying education, a voice teacher approached her and said she should consider a professional singing career.

So Jordan switched majors as a junior to opera theater.

“I don’t think there’s anything I should be doing other than singing,” she said. “It’s really what I want to do – everything I do revolves around music. It’s really what my gift is – I have a gift of song.”

Myra Merritt, Jordan’s vocal teacher at the University, thinks Jordan will do well at Carnegie Hall.

“[Jordan] has a great ability,” she said. “She has a gorgeous sound from top to bottom.”

Merritt, who has been helping Jordan for two years now, also thinks she’s got a natural talent for music.

“I think she’s innately musical,” Merritt said. “She can look at some music and she seems to know how to phrase it – it just makes sense to her.”

But natural vocal skill isn’t all that sets Jordan apart from the pack.

Joscelin Lockhart, second-year graduate and friend to Jordan, said one of the best qualities in Jordan’s voice is its uniqueness.

“In a business where sopranos are a dime a dozen [Jordan] has an amazing ability to captivate the audience. The color [of her voice] is so distinctive, it’s immediately identifiable,” he said.

But a lot of Jordan’s ability comes from hard work.

A past music teacher once told her that being the best isn’t always about being the smartest, many times it’s about being the best prepared.

“I work hard to make sure I’m always prepared. I do everything I can to make sure I’m ready to perform,” she said.

Maggie Davis, second-year graduate student and friend, thinks Jordan’s initial success has come about because of all her hard work.

“She creates her own opportunities, they don’t just come to her by chance,” she said. “She works harder that anyone I know.”

According to Merritt, this opportunity Jordan’s been given has the potential to really help her career.

“Marilyn Horne is not just a star but a superstar, she has a wealth of knowledge,” she said.

For Jordan, the real opportunity here is to gain feedback from top musicians.

She’ll be performing pieces by Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms that Horne herself has sung many times. “They listen to them and give critique, both vocally as well as musically, and say what [the singers] need to do in order to internalize the music,” Merritt said.

The Marilyn Horne Foundation is paying to fly Jordan to New York and stay in the Buckingham Hotel, as well as give her a daily allowance during her stay.

“This is something that doesn’t happen very often. Usually you have to make it on your own for a while before people start helping you, but Mrs. Horne was very impressed [with Jordan],” Merritt said. “I’m almost sure that she’s going to be the best.”

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