Who's Your Diva? Week 4

Featured divas: Sandy Fortier and Taylor Vidic

Juneau Lyric Opera will hold their second annual “Who’s Your Diva?” fundraiser on Sept. 15, featuring an all-new lineup of local divas.


In preparation for this year’s event, the Empire will present brief interviews with each of the nine divas throughout the month of August. This week’s featured divas are Sandy Fortier and Taylor Vidic.

Sandy Fortier

First memorable public performance:

I remember all the way back to preschool when I was the only kid who could remember the words to the second verse of “Silent Night,” so I got to sing a solo at the Christmas show. I was so nervous, but my mom was ridiculously proud, so I belted it just for her. Even back then, I recognized how hard it was to be on stage and I knew I wanted to continue to sing solos.

Three singers (famous or not) who have influenced you throughout your singing career:

The first time I started listening to jazz (to impress a boyfriend), I tried to find a singer he didn’t already know. I found a Holly Cole CD and decided I wanted to start a jazz trio in college and be just like her. I didn’t… but I still like her music.

My husband thinks I could pull off some Joss Stone tunes.

I wore out my CD of Mary Kate and Ashley Olson (yes, they tried to go into the music business too) when I was younger. My sister and I almost did a duet for the school talent show in elementary school called “I am the cute one.”

Three songs you absolutely love to sing:

“I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars. Josh Groban songs. Don’t judge.

Three songs in heavy rotation on your iPod/CD player right now:

Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” Turn it up really loud and let the sound wash over you. Ray LaMontagne’s “You Can Bring Me Flowers” is just an easy song to listen to. I love his unique voice. “A Change is Gonna Come” by Otis Redding is soulful.

Three local performers you admire:

Fellow Diva Cheryl Crawford always has fun when she’s on stage. Tom Locher is an amazing piano player and is very generous with his time and talent, encouraging other performers and making them better. Former Diva Megan Felts is an amazing singer and wonderful teacher. I admire all the local performers who give back to the music community.

Favorite place to sing (besides the stage):

I know it’s cheesy, but I really do like to sing in the shower. I also like to serenade my husband in bed.

Famous movie or theater role you could easily win an Oscar or a Tony Award for if given the chance:

I fancy myself a true Elphaba from “Wicked.” I’ll let you decide.

Other interests besides singing:

I like doing almost anything musical. I play the flute, and dabble in other instruments. I went to Italy once, so I’d like to say I have an interest in travel.

Taylor Vidic

First memorable public performance:

It was probably the first time I sang the National Anthem. It was in front of 1,000 people at my fifth grade D.A.R.E. graduation.

Three singers (famous or not) who have influenced you throughout your singing career:

1. Aretha Franklin. Every time my fourth grade teacher was kind enough to play “Respect” during clean up, all cleaning would pause and a mad sing-along would ensue. My admiration for her and her abilities has only grown over the years.

2.Beyonce. Where to begin. Her vocal ability is enough on its own, not to mention her endless amounts of confidence and charisma. Whether or not you appreciate her genre, you’d be crazy to not respect her vocal abilities.

3. Norah Jones: As much as I love the power behind a voice, the sweet simplicity of Norah Jones is something I can also respect.

Three songs you absolutely love to sing:

You know, I can’t really pick a favorite. I do this thing where I hear phrases throughout the day that remind me of songs, and I can’t help but sing a line or two of the song. Ask any of my friends, it’s a problem.

That’s my real answer but if you must have three, I guess I would say “God Bless the Child,” “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, and, as weird as it may be, I’ve really come to enjoy performing the National Anthem.

Three songs in heavy rotation on your iPod/CD player right now:

1. “Home Again” by Michael Kiwanuka

2. “Silver Lining” by Rilo Kiley

3. “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse

Three local performers you admire:

Well, I’ve got four, or maybe you could call it two. Mary DeSmet and Greg Burger, and Brett and Cheryl Crawford — two power couples in the world of Juneau music. I grew up taking piano lessons from Mary and have watched both pairs throughout the years enjoying the love and music shared between them. I’d love to one day have that.

Favorite place to sing (besides the stage):

I’ve found that locker rooms are a pretty good place to sing. The acoustics are unbeatable. At JDHS I convinced our choir director to let us sing in the girl’s locker room a couple times. Our choir went from sounding like 30 people to 100.

Famous movie or theater role you could easily win an Oscar or a Tony Award for if given the chance:

Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca.”

Other interests besides singing:

I really enjoy playing volleyball, just being with my family and friends, whether that be out Bridget Cove hammock camping, or just sitting around the dinner table playing cards. And I’ll admit, I have a slight addiction to the paper aisle at Joann’s, because I enjoy making cards and scrapbooks.


For more on Who’s Your Diva event, visit Juneau Lyric Opera at juneauopera.org.


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