19 episodes

Our Voices on The Yard is a celebration of Black voices of The Juilliard School, their passion, contributions and sacrifices. Through our lens, we explore the historic intersection of Black art, culture, faith and activism in our communities and beyond, while sharing the triumphs and struggles of the extraordinary Black.

Hosted by Juilliard Drama Division alum, Denise Woods, Our Voice on The Yard prides itself on authentic, no-holds-barred conversations with former and current Juilliard students of the African
diaspora. Our goal is to inform, educate and inspire.

Our Voices on The Yard Denise Woods

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Our Voices on The Yard is a celebration of Black voices of The Juilliard School, their passion, contributions and sacrifices. Through our lens, we explore the historic intersection of Black art, culture, faith and activism in our communities and beyond, while sharing the triumphs and struggles of the extraordinary Black.

Hosted by Juilliard Drama Division alum, Denise Woods, Our Voice on The Yard prides itself on authentic, no-holds-barred conversations with former and current Juilliard students of the African
diaspora. Our goal is to inform, educate and inspire.

    The Transparency of Opera Singer Breanna Sinclairé Pt 2

    The Transparency of Opera Singer Breanna Sinclairé Pt 2

    Denise continues her conversation with transgender opera singer Breanna Sinclair.  A native of Baltimore, Maryland, and a graduate of CalArts, Breanna received her Masters from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and was the first transwoman of the opera program, under the pedagogy of Ms. Ruby Pleasure. Operatic performances include Carmen, La Calisto, The Old Maid and The Thief, The Magic Flute, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Platée, and West Side Story, as well as Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension at REDCAT, and Zachary Sharrin’s Time Bodies at MOCA.
    Outside of opera, Sinclairé has enjoyed a variety of performance opportunities with LGBT and other nonprofit organizations throughout the nation — most recently the Gay Men’s Choruses of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. She made her debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus. Other performances include Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C. and Toronto Pride Festivals, SF Trans March, Fresh Meat Trans and Queer Arts Festivals, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, LinkedIn’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group speaker series panel discussion (alongside civil rights leader Cecilia Chung), Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness book tour, and the Transgender Law Center’s SPARK! anniversary celebration.
    Breanna also made her debut as a  guest artist for the Gay Men’s Chorus of DC in Durufle’s Requiem performing “Pie Jesu” at Church of the Epiphany. She was among Out magazine’s 2015 “OUT100” list of LGBT heroes. She was the first transwoman to perform the National Anthem at a professional sporting event for the Oakland A’s, SF Giants, and San Francisco Deltas. She made her debut with SF Symphony on December 31, 2018 as the first trans singer to perform with the orchestra.
    What You Will Hear
    Feeling comfortable with your instrument/voiceSinging voice vs speaking voiceBeing a transgender daughter of a pastor Voice training
    Quotes
    “When people speak, you can fill in the blanks when they are really truly connected to their authentic voices.”
    “So basically you are an upright basd with all these high, wonderful tones of a cello.”

    Mentioned
    Leontyne Price
    Nathan Carter
    New Shiloh Baptist Church

    • 30 min
    The Transparency of Opera Singer Breanna Sinclairé

    The Transparency of Opera Singer Breanna Sinclairé

    In anticipation of season 2, Denise sits down with transgender opera singer Breanna Sinclair.  A native of Baltimore, Maryland, and a graduate of CalArts, Breanna received her Masters from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and was the first transwoman of the opera program, under the pedagogy of Ms. Ruby Pleasure. Operatic performances include Carmen, La Calisto, The Old Maid and The Thief, The Magic Flute, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Platée, and West Side Story, as well as Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension at REDCAT, and Zachary Sharrin’s Time Bodies at MOCA.
    Outside of opera, Sinclairé has enjoyed a variety of performance opportunities with LGBT and other nonprofit organizations throughout the nation — most recently the Gay Men’s Choruses of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. She made her debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus. Other performances include Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C. and Toronto Pride Festivals, SF Trans March, Fresh Meat Trans and Queer Arts Festivals, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, LinkedIn’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group speaker series panel discussion (alongside civil rights leader Cecilia Chung), Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness book tour, and the Transgender Law Center’s SPARK! anniversary celebration.
    Breanna also made her debut as a  guest artist for the Gay Men’s Chorus of DC in Durufle’s Requiem performing “Pie Jesu” at Church of the Epiphany. She was among Out magazine’s 2015 “OUT100” list of LGBT heroes. She was the first transwoman to perform the National Anthem at a professional sporting event for the Oakland A’s, SF Giants, and San Francisco Deltas. She made her debut with SF Symphony on December 31, 2018 as the first trans singer to perform with the orchestra.
    What You Will Hear
    How Denise and Breanna metBreanna’s journey to finding her voiceHow opera found BreannaDeveloping her upper register Breanna’s accomplishments and challenges  in the opera worldLearning roles and staying readyBeing homeless and the help of a perfect strangerPerseverance and upcoming performancesBreanna’s hopes for her legacyAdvice for young transgender peopleHow Breanna researches a character
    Quotes
    “My performance is a message.”
    “I find that having a tribe is so essential. People that hold you accountable. Not just accountability, but they remind you of who you are because sometimes we forget.”
    “When you are authentic, it come, it shows through your art.”
    “Living in your truth is the most beautiful and also exciting thing because when you're living in your truth you are giving room for yourself to evolve.”
    “When you, confine yourself to what other people think of you or what people view you as, it puts you in a place of insecurity, and it kind of closes the room for you to grow.”

    • 47 min
    Black Operatic Excellence Continues with Steven Herring Pt.2

    Black Operatic Excellence Continues with Steven Herring Pt.2

    Continuing the conversation with Baritone, Steven Herring, Denise and Steven delve into the differences between a teacher and a coach and Steven’s love for arts education.  Steven has performed the roles of  Don Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, Sacristan in Puccini’s Tosca, Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Belcore in Donizetti’sL’Elisir D’amore. Mr. Herring had the distinct pleasure of performing in Jason and Alicia Moran’s WORK SONGS, for the 56th Biennale di Venezia. A recipient of an Olga Forrai Foundation Grant Mr. Herring is also the Director of School and Community Engagement for Bridge Arts Ensemble, an organization of New York-based teaching artists which brings high quality music education to over 50,000 public school students in Upstate New York. As a featured soloist, Mr. Herring’s concert repertoire includes performances of Beethoven Choral Fantasy with The Saint Louis Symphony, Fauré Requiem with Orchestra of Saint Lukes, Peter in Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with Musica Angelica and The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Carmina Burana at The John F. Kennedy Center with The CUA Symphony Orchestra, Messiah with The CUA Symphony Orchestra, Mozart Festival with The Juilliard Symphony.
    What You Will Hear
    What is the difference between a difference and a coach?Sound quality and sound production as a singerSteven’s love for arts education and the Living Arts Collaborative and Bridge Arts EnsembleJuilliard and the communityStorytellingWhat Steven would tell his younger self
    Quotes
    “Son we learn from everyone so always remain open and get the stuff that you need.”-Edward Zambara
    “it really is a rite of passage to be able to perform for young, young kids.”
    “ the sounds of your throat will never make you a great singer It's what you do below counts.” “Todd Duncan
    “Singers must be great poets.”-Todd Duncan
    “Trust the process, life continues moving forward.”

    Mentioned

    LivingArtsCollaborative.com
    Instagram Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
    The Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts 
    LivingArtsCollaborative.com
    Instagram Facebook 
    Jason and Alicia Hall Moran
    Ed Berkely
    Ed Zamabara
    Marlena Malice
    Steven Smith
    Micheal Kahn
    Marian Seldes

    Jason and Alicia Hall Moran
    Ed Berkely
    Ed Zamabara
    Marlena Malice
    Steven Smith
    Micheal Kahn
    Marian Seldes

    • 32 min
    Black Operatic Excellence Continues with Steven Herring

    Black Operatic Excellence Continues with Steven Herring

    Denise sits down with Baritone, Steven Herring who has performed the roles of  Don Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, Sacristan in Puccini’s Tosca, Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Belcore in Donizetti’sL’Elisir D’amore. Mr. Herring had the distinct pleasure of performing in Jason and Alicia Moran’s WORK SONGS, for the 56th Biennale di Venezia. A recipient of an Olga Forrai Foundation Grant Mr. Herring is also the Director of School and Community Engagement for Bridge Arts Ensemble, an organization of New York based teaching artists which brings high quality music education to over 50,000 public school students in Upstate New York. As a featured soloist, Mr. Herring’s concert repertoire includes performances of Beethoven Choral Fantasy with The Saint Louis Symphony, Fauré Requiem with Orchestra of Saint Lukes, Peter in Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with Musica Angelica and The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Carmina Burana at The John F. Kennedy Center with The CUA Symphony Orchestra, Messiah with The CUA Symphony Orchestra, Mozart Festival with The Juilliard Symphony.
    What You Will Hear
    What attracted Steven to operaWhat makes opera grand and classic and what is different about singing other genresWork SongsWanting to play Othello and controversy in the opera world about blackface.Going to the Juilliard SchoolLife after Juilliard
    Quotes
    “You always have to find a way to tap into the emotion of the piece….the emotions color the sound.”
    “If the voice and the emotion serve  the character, may the best artist win that role.”
    “I didn't have to go in search of the black experience black my experience is It's the black experience.”
    Mentioned
    The Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts 
    LivingArtsCollaborative.com
    Instagram Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
    Jason and Alicia Hall Moran
    Ed Berkely
    Ed Zamabara
    Marlena Malice
    Steven Smith
    Micheal Kahn
    Marian Seldes

    • 42 min
    Black Operatic Excellence with Kevin Thompson Pt 2

    Black Operatic Excellence with Kevin Thompson Pt 2

    Denise continues her conversation with world renowned opera singer Kevin Thompson to discuss his career and Juilliard experience.. Originally from Washington D.C. Mr. Thompson is an alumnus of The Juilliard School in New York, San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Program, and the Santa Fe Opera Program.  Mr. Thompson has performed in opera houses and concert venues throughout the world, under the baton of many esteemed conductors, including Austria, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, South America, Switzerland, and the United States. Thompson has made debuts with New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, New Orleans Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Carolina, Bard Opera, National Philharmonic, The Florida Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, Odyssey Opera, Hannover Staatsoper, Fundación Teatro Nacional Sucre in Ecuador, Teatro Verdi Trieste, Hong Kong Opera, Teatro Regio Parma, Ruse State Opera, Theater Kiel, the Gasteig in Munich, and the Wexford Opera.
    What You Will Hear
    Thompson’s taking agency in current career aspectsLearning the ups and downs of being your own business manager Thompson’s extensive passion for Arts EducationFaith, believing and growing up as a preacher’s kidLife after Juilliard and moving forwardHidden talents of being a ChefFinding balance and enjoying life
    Quotes
    “The arts is just not just for the arts, what you learn in the arts is how to come out of yourself and be all of who you are and express that in the world.”
    “Know thyself is most important.”
    “After I do something really serious and really hard, I give myself a break of vacation. That could be two days, that could be one day, but just go somewhere or do something that you really enjoy because yourself a gift and you need that, to have a break mentally.”
    “Life is meant to be really enjoyed it's not meant to just get through it.”
    “If you don’t risk anything, what are you to gain?”
    “Fight for your dreams, because the dream was given to you, not another person. They were given to you to manifest them and to give them birth. It’s your job.”

    • 29 min
    Black Operatic Excellence with Kevin Thompson

    Black Operatic Excellence with Kevin Thompson

    Denise sits down with world renowned opera singer Kevin Thompson to discuss his career and Juilliard experience.. Originally from Washington D.C. Mr. Thompson is an alumnus of The Juilliard School in New York, San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Program, and the Santa Fe Opera Program.  Mr. Thompson has performed in opera houses and concert venues throughout the world, under the baton of many an esteemed conductor, including Austria, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, South America, Switzerland, and the United States. Thompson has made debuts with New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, New Orleans Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Carolina, Bard Opera, National Philharmonic, The Florida Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, Odyssey Opera, Hannover Staatsoper, Fundación Teatro Nacional Sucre in Ecuador, Teatro Verdi Trieste, Hong Kong Opera, Teatro Regio Parma, Ruse State Opera, Theater Kiel, the Gasteig in Munich, and the Wexford Opera. 
    What You Will Hear
    Thompson coming into fruition of his vocal careerReminiscing on Thompson’s freshman year of JulliardThe performance aspect at JulliardThompson’s top 5 characters to voiceUtilizing Thompson’s humor alongside his vocal talentWorking alongside Jesse NormanSeizing the moment to sing for Grace BumbryThompson’s taking agency in current career aspectsLearning the ups and downs of being your own business manager Thompson’s extensive passion for Arts EducationHidden talents of being a Chef
    Quotes
    “I knew that my talent was my ticket to get me into college.”“Stand tall. Stand tall. Stand in your presence.”“If you’re playing a villain, the actual character doesn’t think they’re a villain. You find the other elements of the character that are less villainous, because there're so many elements in the human condition and human character. It’s up to us as storytellers to find those nuances in the character.”“You have to seize moments in life. They’re not going to be there forever. There are moments that you have to step into your purpose.”“The gift is what we have to offer. It is your gift to give to the people and to use it.”“Fight for your dreams, because a lot of people will try to talk you out of your dreams.”“If we wake up another day, there is a purpose for us to be here.”“Faith and fear cannot exist in the same paradigm.”“It doesn’t make a difference if it takes you three minutes to learn this role, or if it takes you three to six months, as long as you know the role when you arrive, that’s all that matters.”“Fight for your dreams, because the dream was given to you, not another person. They were given to you to manifest them and to give them birth. It’s your job.”
    Mentioned
    KevinThompsonBass.comMyra Merit - Metropolitan OperaMichael SantanaSuitland High School Center of the ArtsNAACP Axo CompetitionPaul RopesonJesse NormanGrace BumbryAmes Gros Program in Austria/ American Institution of Musical StudiesBelmont GlassDr. Carter - Morgan (HBCU)

    • 40 min

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