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Gerald Blanchard (Baritone, Choral Conductor)

Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

The American baritone, choral conductor and music pedagogue, Gerald J. Blanchard, holds a BS in Music Education from West Chester University’s School of Music in Pennsylvania, Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Central Michigan University’s School of Music and the DMA degree in Voice Performance from Michigan State University’s College of Music. He most recently studied voice under the guidance of Daniel Washington (baritone), Robert Bracey (tenor) and Jeffrey Foote (basso cantante). Other teachers have included the renowned "Teatra Alla Scalla" basso profundo Julian Rodescu (deceased), coloratura soprano; Wendy Miller, lyric soprano; Jane Wyss and lyric tenor; William Decker. He has also coached with tenor Paul Spencer Atkins (University of the Arts), mezzo-soprano Marianne Cassiello (Curtis Institute) mezzo-soprano Karen Brunssen (Northwestern University), and renowned Metropolitan Opera tenors, George I. Shirley and Richard Fracker and baritone, Sherrill Milnes. Among his many awards and recognitions, he was a first place winner in the Opera Memphis National Singers Search auditions in summer 2000. He is also a Gil Rau Choral Scholar, a King/Chavez/Parks Fellow, ALANA Fellow and was the 2001 Classical Division winner in the inaugural vocal competition sponsored by the Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra of Michigan.

Gerald Blanchard made appearances with numerous opera companies and music festivals throughout North America including the Grand Teton Music Festival & Opera (Wyoming), Lake Afton Early Music Festival (Pennsylvania), Opera Delaware, Bel Canto Lyric Opera Company of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Dorian Opera Theatre (Iowa), Music Society of Midland (Michigan), The Delaware Humanities Forum Players and the BCV Performing Artist Opera and Concert Artists of which he is founding artistic director. Critics have described Blanchard's voice as... "Dynamic and virtuosic. “and "rich and expressive" after attending the Pennsylvania premier of Ron Nelson's The Drifter under the direction of Maestra Mary W. Green and the Kennett Symphony Orchestra.

On the concert stage, Gerald Blanchard has made appearances with such notable organizations as the Philomel Chamber Orchestra (Pennsylvania), The Philadelphia Orchestra and Choral Arts Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra (Michigan), Lake St. Clair Symphony (Michigan), Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), Chester County Brass (Pennsylvania), Northeastern Philharmonic (Pennsylvania), West Chester Symphony Orchestra (Pennsylvania), Kennett Symphony Orchestra (Pennsylvania), Shaw String Ensemble (Pennsylvania), The Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra (Michigan),Adrian Symphony (Michigan), Flint Symphony Chamber Orchestra (Michigan), Festival Chorus and Orchestra of Central Michigan, Sacred Heart Chorale of Montreal, The Plymouth Oratorio Society and Eastern Michigan University Choirs, University of Rochester Choirs, Singing City Chorale of Philadelphia and countless others.

Gerald Blanchard has concertized throughout the USA, Europe, The Caribbean and Canada. Most recently he performed as soloist at the Kirchentag Festival in Bremen Germany. Many of his performances have been broadcasted on Public Radio and television stations throughout the country, including a recent vocal recital featured on PBS station WCMU in Michigan. With a love for new musical projects and collaborations, Blanchard has appeared in concert with Jazz artists Rodney Whitaker, Wycliffe Gordon, and Rick Roe. He is featured on several commercial recordings including the solo album “With a Song in My Heart” on Blue Griffin Records, “I Can Tell The World” Live with the Earl Nelson Singers and The Requiem Mass in D minor (K. 626) by W.A. Mozart, under the artistic direction of maestro Charles Burke and the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra on Orchestra Hall Records.

On the new works opera stage, Gerald Blanchard created the role of "King Spara" in Opera Delaware's 1997 world premiere of Evelynn Swenson’s opera The Legend of Redwall Abbey. During the summer of that same year, he also created the role of William Still (Father of the Underground Railroad) in the world premiere of Joyce Hill-Stoner and Scott F. Mason's musical documentary Delaware's Railroad to Freedom which aired on PBS stations throughout the east coast.

Since 2004, Gerald Blanchard is Vocal Director and Music Area Coordinator at Kellogg Community College (KCC), Battle Creek where he serves as the Artistic Director of the Branch County Community Chorus in Coldwater, Michigan. He is also the new director of the Union City Community Chorale (501c3 organization). He recently served on the voice faculties at the University of Michigan (Flint), Adrian College, Lansing Community College, Michigan State University and Central Michigan University Community Music Schools, School, and was the director of youth choral activities and voice faculty at the Darlington Fine Arts Center.

As a conductor, Gerald Blanchard's choirs have toured both nationally and internationally giving performances in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. His ensembles regularly collaborate with major musical organizations such as the Sacred Music Festival in Kalamazoo, The Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, Haydn Festival Orchestra and the Monroe Community Chorale and Symphony. Summer 2014, the KCC Choral Union returned to Europe giving performances throughout the Amalfi Coast and Rome. Past European performances took place in Ireland where the choirs performed at the Cork Cathedral, St. Anne's in Dublin and at the Presbyterian Church in Malahide. His ensembles have opened for Grammy award winning groups including; Take 6 and Sweet Honey in the Rock. He formerly served on the board of directors for the Michigan chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.

Source: Gerald Blanchard Website; Kellogg Community College Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2015)

Gerald Blanchard: Short Biography | Kellogg Community College Choirs Union | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Kellogg Community College: Music Faculty

Gerald Blanchard, lyric baritone (Official Website)

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