Artist Spotlight

Molly Wilson

(Susanna Valleau)

Sirgourney Tanner’s musical talent was first discovered by her mother, when she turned down the car radio and Tanner kept singing. Realizing her daughter’s talent, Tanner’s mother sent her to the church choir in their hometown of Chicago, IL.
“Gospel music is where I got most of my foundation,” said Tanner.
Now a super-senior majoring in vocal performance with a minor in philosophy, Tanner has built off that foundation and participated in all kinds of music here at Lawrence. She’s sung with Cantala choir and participated in four operas in her time here – most notably playing Paquette in this year’s production of “Candide.”
She also recently sang the title role from Strauss’s “Arabella” in Lawrence’s Opera Scenes, and she sang in this year’s Martin Luther King program.
Outside of Lawrence she’s managed to find things to keep her busy: Last summer, she went to Austria to participate in the play “Joan d’arc,” which was an international collaboration between the Goodman Theatre of Chicago and the Linz 2009 Kulturhauptstadt Europas.
“It was an amazingly beautiful experience,” said Tanner. “I got a taste of the theater world and Europe which is, of course, very different from the United States – much more laid-back.”
Tanner’s warm mezzo-soprano tone, coupled with an organic musicality and incredible emotional range make every performance beautiful for listeners. The next place you’ll be able to hear her is in her senior recital, May 22 at 11 a.m.
Her program includes music by Berg, Verdi and Chausson as well as three spirituals and the heart-breaking aria “My Man’s Gone Now” from Porgy and Bess.
What does the future hold for Tanner? Well, she’s taking some time off before grad school and plans to teach singing lessons through her church. After that, she told us, “I eventually want to perform. I love singing, performing… and dressing up! But I see myself as an educator and I want to open a music academy for underprivileged youth.”
Now, I know getting up at 11 a.m. on a Saturday can be rough, but I promise you, this is definitely worth it. If you’re too sleepy, you can catch her at more nocturnal-friendly hours at the commencement concert at the end of the year.

(Susanna Valleau)

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