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Opera alumnus has passion for singing — and talent to pursue it

The songbird from Brooklyn said an elementary school glee club conductor sparked her singing career when he gave her a classical piece to perform. “That’s when I realized I had a solo voice and really liked singing,” says Sibongile Boyd. “It was just something about the grandeur of it that attracted me. I preferred singing more than listening to instrumental pieces.”

As a teen, Boyd saw her idol, opera singer Kathleen Battle, in concert and knew that she wanted to pursue opera.

Boyd took voice lessons throughout high school and during her undergraduate years at Harvard, where she studied French and Afro-American studies and performed with the prestigious Radcliffe Choral Society.

Boyd left a job at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pursue her master’s of music in opera at Binghamton. She received a Clark Fellowship, which covered two years of tuition and a living stipend.

The coloratura soprano also trained with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, combining her coursework with practical lessons in the theater to prepare students for careers in opera. “Ideally, I’d like to be able to do roles with regional companies or do another young artist program and just graduate to the next level,” she says.

Vocal coach Diane Richardson says Boyd was one of her strongest students. “She is very gifted, committed and dedicated to expressing what she feels is important in every song,” Richardson says.

Boyd’s biggest supporters include her parents, especially her mother, who also enjoys singing. “We’re very close,” Boyd says, “and she says that if she came back in another lifetime, she would be a singer, so to some extent I’m living out what she would love to have done.”

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Last Updated: 2/11/10