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'Who's Your Diva' Q&A, week 4

Posted: August 25, 2011 - 7:27am
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Patricia Hull   Photo by Seanna O'Sullivan
Photo by Seanna O'Sullivan
Patricia Hull

This fall, for the first time, Juneau Lyric Opera will hold a special fundraiser. Called “Who’s Your Diva?” the event will showcase 10 of Juneau’s best-known voices, who will compete for the chance to be named Juneau’s official diva. Each competitor will perform two songs, and then community members will vote for their choice.

Each week through the month of August, the Empire will present brief Q&As with each of the 10 divas in preparation for the event, scheduled for Sept. 10.

This week’s featured divas are Megan Felts and Patricia Hull.

Megan Felts

How long have you been singing?

All of my life! I started studying voice in high school, continued through college as a voice principle at Berklee College of Music, and now I teach voice lessons as well as performing around Juneau.

Who do you draw inspiration from as a singer?

My inspiration comes from many different sources, but I’d have to say Julie Andrews, Linda Eder and Ella Fitzgerald are at the top of my list.

What has been one of your favorite roles or events to participate in as a performer in Juneau?

I participated in JLO’s Broadway Splash workshop this year. Musical theater is my favorite genre of music, and each year Broadway Splash has been able to showcase wonderful material from some of Juneau’s finest voices.

What has been one of your favorite performances to watch as an audience member in Juneau?

I have really enjoyed watching our local high schools’ musicals. Many of my students participate in these shows, and to me there is nothing better than watching my students grow and flourish with each new performance.

If you could trade places with a performer for a day, who would it be?

I would have to say Julie Andrews. She’s done it all — Broadway, movies, recording contracts, she’s performed on world tours.

What has been your favorite part about being a diva?

I have so enjoyed getting to meet the other divas and getting to know them better through this process!

What is your diva style like?

Bigger than life! I love to belt out songs, so I chose two songs to perform that inspire me to give it my all.

When you are not being a diva, what do you do?

I own North Star Music Academy where I teach private voice and piano lessons.

Other than on stage, what is your favorite place to sing?

I love sitting at my piano at home and just singing for myself. Music is my life — music is not only my career but it is my greatest passion in life, and so I sing most often just for myself.

What songs (or performers) give you goosebumps when you hear them?

One of my great music loves is choral music — I melt to choral pieces with complex chord structures. One of my favorite choral pieces is “Sing Me To Heaven,” composed by Daniel E. Gawthrop. It is an incredible song where the soprano, alto, tenor and bass lines weave in and out of each other in beautiful lines of dissonance and resolution.

What songs are you singing for the competition and how did you choose them?

I am singing “Someone Like You” from the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” and “Take Me Or Leave Me” from the musical “Rent.” The first song has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it when I was 12, and the second song is a diva-licious statement of self-confidence and strength.

What tips do you have for inspiring divas?

We are all divas in our own ways. Find and embrace the true diva in you and let it shine!

Patricia Hull

How long have you been singing?

Since before I could talk. My father is a musician and music teacher.

Who do you draw inspiration from as a singer?

Many different voices: Kathleen Battle, Eva Cassidy, Susan Tedeschi, Kathleen Wayne, Nancy LaMott, Joni Mitchell, Patsy Cline — lots of people to learn from.

What has been one of your favorite roles or events to participate in as a performer in Juneau?

Performing as Patsy in “Always Patsy Cline” in 2005 and 2006. It was rewarding then and continues to be each time someone recounts today how much they enjoyed our productions.

What has been one of your favorite performances to watch as an audience member in Juneau?

Of nonmusical roles, hands down it would be Aaron Elmore in “Cyrano” last fall. Of musical roles, Kathleen Wayne’s “Tosca.”

If you could trade places with a performer for a day, who would it be?

Susan Tedeschi. She’s a musician’s musician and has the hottest band ever, plus her fans adore her.

What has been your favorite part about being a diva?

I have justification for wearing a long wig!

What is your diva style like?

Naughty librarian. A disciplined woman letting her hair down and having fun.

When you are not being a diva, what do you do?

I’m a state worker during the day and an actor in the evenings. My most recent role was Lady Bracknell in “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Perseverance Theatre.

Other than on stage, what is your favorite place to sing?

For casual singing, my kitchen while I do dishes. For formal singing, the chapel at the Shrine of St. Therese where liturgical music takes on a whole new dimension: a choir of angels always joins in.

What songs (or performers) give you goose bumps when you hear them?

Too many to list! If I must pick one favorite, then Eva Cassidy singing “FIelds of Gold.” She died young of cancer and knew she was ill when she sang it. There’s beauty and poignancy when she sings the words “will you remember me when the west wind blows...”

What songs are you singing for the competition and how did you choose them?

I’ll be singing “Last One Picked” and “Hero.” I chose the first song because, in my opinion, divas are not born, but made, and often out of adversity. And I chose the second because being true to yourself is the essence of diva.

What tips do you have for inspiring divas?

Sing, sing, sing! Sing every kind of music as often as you can. It is a miraculous instrument you always have with you which will feed your soul and never let you down.

•••

“Who’s Your Diva?,” a fundraiser for the Juneau Lyric Opera, will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the JACC. Contestants are Alaska’s Kit, Eve Dillingham, Heather Mitchell, Kari Groven, Laura Haywood, Malinda League, Megan Felts, Patricia Hull, Sarah Johnson and Shona Strauser.For more information, visit www.juneauopera.org.

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