So, this episode has been in the works for a minute now, and I’m so happy to finally be able to share it with your ears. Today, I’m in conversation with my very dear friend Hilary Webb.
(You can stream our chat via the embed here, on Anchor, or pretty much anywhere else you source your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, and Google Podcasts.)
Originally from Schererville, Indiana, Hilary began studying voice at the age of 13. She earned her bachelor’s from Ball State University, where she studied with Mary Hagopian, and she earned her master’s in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has worked with John Rutter, Dan Forrest, Beverly Sills, Barbara Hahn, and The King’s Singers and has been soprano section leader at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, since 2011 and has been part of the Bel Canto Company since 2003. Hilary has also performed with the Greensboro Opera, Capital Opera Company, and The Choral and Oratorio Societies of Greensboro, and has made guest appearances with The Triad Pride Men’s Chorus. A two-time National Association of Teachers of Singing Great Lakes Auditions finalist and Mu Phi Epsilon scholarship winner, she competes throughout the country and performs in the U.S. and Europe.
In our chat today, we talk about how we first met thanks to the robust community arts scene of Northwest Indiana in the 1980s and 90s (and how the secret origins of the very name of this podcast go back to my days as piano accompanist for many of Hilary’s solo performances), seeing Placido Domingo live on stage the first time she ever went to the opera in Chicago, hanging out with Beverly Sills, how women and men’s voices come to maturity in different ways, the spiritual dimensions of choral music and the challenges of choral singing during these days of Covid and social distancing, and why she’s specifically chosen not to live in New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago in order to pursue music professionally.
Hilary Webb on LinkedIn
Hilary’s sister, the futurist Amy Webb
The opera Fedora is by Umberto Giordano. Here’s footage of Plácido Domingo singing the beloved short aria from Act II “Amor ti vieta.”
Mary Hagopian, Associate Professor Emerita of Music Performance at Ball State University
The “Letter Scene” from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, with Teresa Kubiak as Tatyana
Bel Canto Company, conducted by Dr. Welborn Young, is an ensemble of professional musicians dedicated to presenting exceptional, innovative, and engaging choral performances for all. Through music they strive to celebrate the entirety of human experience. They believe in the joy of singing and the power of live choral music to entertain, inspire, heal, build community, and express that which cannot be expressed by words or music alone. Read more about Bel Canto on their website here, or listen to past performances on YouTube.
Bel Canto’s world premiere performance of Dan Forrest’s “The Breath of Life”
Bel Canto Company with Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet Company performing Daniel Elder’s “365”
Trinity Voices sing “Lone Wild Bird”
Trinity Voices sing “Down to the River to Pray”