Kathleen Battle - The Dirt On Working with the International Opera Star

CBS News Eye On the Arts

I first heard Kathleen Battle on a PBS Christmas special singing "Mary Did You Know?". I fell in love with her passion, musicality, and tone. I have since enjoyed many of her other recordings, from spirituals to Rachmaninoff. 

Many of you have asked me what it was like working with Ms. Battle. Some may be aware of controversy during her career at the Met among those who labeled her difficult to work with. If you are looking for someone to validate or juice up those rumors, I happily cannot.

My firsthand experience working with Ms. Battle, as a member of the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale, in her concert at the Kimmel Center was amazing and rewarding. This woman knows what she wants, has the talent and experience to back up her requests, and expects you to deliver. Though there was an occasional breakdown in communication between what she wanted us to deliver and how we were to get there, I enjoyed every minute of our rehearsals and performance time together.

She was very pleasant, had a good sense of humor, and was generous with her time greeting us after the concert. Beautiful lady with a regal air about her and soooo much talent (and unfortunately extremely camera shy, so no pictures). Watching her perform from 2 feet away, listening to her sing, and getting to see some of her preparation process during the rehearsals has been one of the highlights of my career so far. 

Leading and conducting at the helm was Philadelphia's own great director, J. Donald Dumpson. 
And the renowned jazz pianist, Cyrus Chestnut, was also absolutely incredible. 

Cyrus Chestnut and I post concert

The icing on the cake was having a few EOJAS friends in the choir with me.
Our Intermission "ussie"

And Kathleen Battle has asked our choir to perform with her again, so stay tuned for more info! 
Fix Me Jesus from our concert performance Friday night.

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