A collection of extraordinary music that benefits a great cause - Fort Bend Family Promise and the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry. Dr. Tyler Smith and Betsy Uschkrat Smith, both Vocal Performance Instructors at Loyola University in New Orleans are here to perform for "Concert for a Cause" a doubly rewarding experience.
Known for her artistic elegance and glistening vocal range, the New Orleans Times-Picayune describes lyric soprano Betsy Uschkrat as a “vocal powerhouse.” Recently she received praises for her performances as Julie Jordan in Carousel with Opera Idaho, Musetta in La bohème with Shreveport Opera, Marian Paroo in The Music Man with Tulane Summer Lyric, First Lady in Die Zauberflüte and Adele in The Awakening with New Orleans Opera. Other leading operatic performances with orchestra include the title roles in Manon, Romeó et Juliette, and Susannah, as well as leading roles in L’elisir d’more, Orpheus in the Underworld, Die Fledermaus, and A Room with a View (released on DVD with Newport Classic). Her symphonic performances include Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Bach’s Magnificat, Rutter’s Gloria, Poulenc’s Gloria, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, the New Orleans premiere of Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light Requiem, and with the Caritas Chorale in Ketchem, ID she has sung Beethoven’s Mass in C. In 2009 she was named Shreveport Opera’s Singer of the Year as well as the Grand Prize winner of Birmingham Opera’s Vocal Competition. A two-time Regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Uschkrat has a Masters Degree from Indiana University, a Bachelor of Music from The University of Houston and competed in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant as Miss Indiana 2006. Other honors include recitals and performances with: The Kennedy Center in Washington D. C.; Des Moines Metro Opera; Loyola University; Opera Louisiane of Baton Rouge; University of Louisiana- Monroe; Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi; St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, Temple Sinai, and St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. Ms. Uschkrat is currently an Adjunct Professor of Voice at Loyola University’s College of Music and has been on staff for four years with Preparatory and Continuing Studies.
Dramatic tenor Tyler Smith has appeared in numerous operatic and concert performances throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. Most recently he performed the roles of Canio for New Orleans Opera and The Southern Opera and Musical Theatre’s productions of I Pagliacci as well as Maxwell in Pensacola Opera’s world premiere of The Widow’s Lantern. For Des Moines Metro Opera, he has covered the roles of Max in Der Freischütz, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Otello in Otello and Riccardo in The Masked Ball. Other performances include Don Jose in Carmen, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Boris in Katya Kabanova, the title role in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, Max in Der Freischütz, Florestan in Fidelio, and Belfiore in Argento’s Casanovas Homecoming, which was recently released on the Newport Classics label. In 2001 he made his Houston Grand Opera Debut as Carlson in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, which has been released on the Albany label. Equally at home on the concert stage, Mr. Smith has performed with the Caritas Choral, Houston Symphony, Orchestra X, Corpus Christi Symphony, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Some highlights include Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Haydn’s Creation, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, the Verdi Requiem, the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Eternal Light Requiem by Howard Goodall, Beethoven’s Mass in C, and 9th Symphony. Future engagements include Salome with New Orleans Opera, Soloist for Opera Louisiane’s production of Chorus in Baton Rouge, a recital for the University of Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, and tenor soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater in Sun Vally, Idaho. Mr. Smith has received degrees from Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and his Doctorate from the University of Houston. He is currently a full-time faculty Instructor of Voice and Vocal Pedagogy at Loyola University in New Orleans.
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