Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I mentioned about what a great job FPC did with the Christmas Eve service, but didn't really elaborate. They had several members of the Honolulu Symphony playing along with the choir. The baritone soloist Leon Williams talked about what the Advent candle signified to him, and then he sang Emmanuel. He mentioned that he had sung at the White House and toured to thirty other cities per year singing. He's an excellent soloist. When we got home, I googled him and found tons of listings about him. Here's one of the biographies I found about him from the Santa Barbara symphony website:
Soloist: Leon Williams, Baritone
American baritone Leon Williams enjoys a fine reputation on several continents for his handsome voice, charismatic personality and superb musicianship. Concert appearances include Carmina Burana with the Florida, Westchester, National and Colorado Symphonies; Britten's War Requiem and the Mozart and Faure Requiems with the Colorado Symphony; Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony with the Portland Symphony; Haydn's Il Ritorno di Tobia and Harold Farberman's War Cry on a Prayer Feather with the American Symphony Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center; Weill's Lindberghflug with Dennis Russell Davies and the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; Mahler's Rueckerlieder with Christoph Eschenbach at Japan's Pacific Music Festival; Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Eighth Symphony with Leon Botstein at New York's Bard Festival; Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols with the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall; Beethoven's Mass in C at France's Colmar Festival; and Copland's Old American Songs with the Warren Philharmonic.

Passionately devoted to the art of song, Williams has given recitals in Hartford, Princeton, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Milan, Tokyo, Munich and throughout his native New York City, including Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, the 92nd Street Y, where he performed a much acclaimed Poulenc program with Dalton Baldwin and Michel Senechal, The Guggenheim Museum and Florence Gould Hall.

Williams’ success on the operatic stage includes performances at Hawaii Opera Theatre, Toledo Opera and several concert versions including the role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess with Yuir Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in St. Petersburg, Russia.

A native of New York City and a graduate of Westminster Choir College, The Boys Choir of Harlem and The Juilliard School, Mr. Williams currently resides in Kailua, Hawaii and most enjoys offering his musical gifts in worship at First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu.


Future Chaps said...

I agree with your post about Leon. He is fantastic and truly adds to the worship at FPC. Make the effort to get to know him, he is an amazing person as well. The bio missed that he has also performed on Broadway in Ragtime.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours