It seems like just yesterday that Paige Kenley '12, was sharing her voice with the Radford University community, but she'll be catapulted to the next level when she performs a solo during the Kennedy Center’s Messiah Sing-along on Monday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m.
The Messiah Sing-along has been a yearly tradition since 1971. This year's concert will be conducted by Barry Hemphill leading the Opera House Orchestra with Kenley in the mezzo-soprano soloist role.
Kenley, currently pursuing graduate studies in music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., was a ubiquitous force in the arts while at RU. The Riner native studied music education and sang in RU honors recitals, Madrigal dinners and at commencement ceremonies.
Outside of campus, Kenley lent her voice to Opera Roanoke as a Young Artist Apprentice, sang as a member of the Presbyterian Church of Radford Choir and worked as a student music teacher at Kipps Elementary school in Blacksburg and Christiansburg High School.
Messiah was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel and has become one of the best-loved oratorios in classical music, instantly recognizable by the famous "Hallelujah" chorus.
Achieving a soloist role in a major production like Messiah so early in her professional career is a testament to the preparation and work that Kenley put in during her days as a Highlander.
"Before I came to Radford, I never would have had the ability to do all this with my voice," Kenley said. "I got that here, from my teachers and my experiences as a performer."
The Kennedy Center concert is performed in two 50 minute halves with a 15 minute intermission. Tickets are free but guests must pick them up at the Kennedy Center prior to show time. Two tickets will be distributed to every person in line at 6 p.m. on Dec. 23.