, Muskogee, OK

December 15, 2007

‘Messiah’ fulfills dream

Muskogee soprano always wanted to perform it

By Travina Coleman

For Muskogee native, Sarah Coburn, singing soprano in “The Messiah” is a Christmas gift to herself.

“Growing up, I saw the performances, and in high school as a part of all-state choir, we got the honor of singing in the chorus,” Coburn said. “I never dreamed I would be the soloist. I am truly honored.”

Coburn will be joined by mezzo-soprano Charlotte Blakely; bass Richard Sutliff and tenor Robert Daniel, in the 44th annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at 8 p.m. Monday, presented by Muskogee Community Chorus, at St. Paul United Methodist Church’s sanctuary.

Oklahoma is known for producing some of the best talent in diverse genres of music. And opera is no exception.

Coburn, who now calls New York home, said she had no idea she would be living her dream singing professionally.

“I had to study opera in college, like all the undergrads do,” she said. “It was then, I realized my voice was loud enough to carry over an orchestra without a microphone.”

Coburn received a master’s degree in music from Oklahoma City University and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Oklahoma State University.

This year will mark the 44th anniversary of Muskogee’s presentation. Under the direction of Ineta Bebb, an expanded chorus will perform the “Christmas Section,” with organist Michael Bedford. This is the opportunity for area residents to have the opportunity to experience the voice of Coburn, for free.

Connie Stout said she hopes every resident will come out and support the community in this Muskogee tradition.

“It’s a wonderful production,” Stout said. “We are so excited about everyone of our performers this year.”

Coburn said she is thrilled to be coming home for the holidays and enjoying a break before her busy schedule begins.

“You hope you can help other rising artists, and the presentation now helps produce scholarships for the community,” Coburn said. “The Messiah,” is beautiful and meaningful, and a real treat to sing every single time,” Coburn said. “I would hope that everyone would come to the performance. It is what Christmas is really about. It’s expressed through music, the language of the soul and I don’t know how much more meaningful it can get.”

Awards and tour schedule

Sarah Coburn is a winner of the 2004 George London Foundation Awards, a 2004 recipient of a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, a 2004 Jensen Foundation Award Winner, a 2003 Liederkranz Foundation Award Winner, a 2002 Opera Index Career Grant recipient, and was a National Grand Finalist in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Upcoming roles for the 2007-08 season include the role of Asteria in “Tamerlano” with Washington National Opera, the title role of Lakmé with Tulsa Opera and the role of Princess Yue-yang in the revival of “The First Emperor” at the Metropolitan Opera. She returns to Seattle Symphony as soloist in Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” to Washington Concert Opera as Elvira in “I puritani,” to Cincinnati Opera in the title role of Lucie de Lammermoor, and to Glimmerglass Opera in the summer of 2008 to sing Giulietta in “I Capuleti e i Montecchi.”

If you go

WHAT: Handel’s “Messiah,” presented by Muskogee Community Chorus.

WHERE: Saint Paul United Methodist Church sanctuary, 2130 W. Okmulgee Ave.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday.

INFORMATION: 687-7571.

Reach Travina Coleman at 918-684-2901 or Click Here to Send Email