In addition to my genealogy road trip to Chappell Hill, TX and to the Mulberry Bower House the weekend of May 20, 2011, I also had the honor and true pleasure of seeing my beautiful and talented niece, Nicole L. Taylor, receive her Doctoral Degree in Vocal Performance with Opera Emphasis at the University of Texas at Austin! Her 2011 Graduate Convocation in Bass Concert Hall was a very proud moment for her, her family and friends. University of Texas’ Graduate School is one of the largest in the nation, with almost 12,000 in attendance, and is one of the largest producers of Ph.D.s in the United States! There were 800 doctoral degrees awarded by the Graduate School and half of them were presented their hoods & degrees this year– and my niece was one of them!
Nicole Taylor has sung in various events and celebrations around Houston, Texas including corporate events, professional organizations special events, and various churches around the city. She received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Houston where she performed Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring and the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Nicole also reprised the role of that vengeful queen in an encore performance in the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston.
She completed her Masters of Music in Opera at UT in spring of 2006 as a member of the Butler Opera Studio where she sang the role of Lidoine in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. She sang the role of Lia in Debussy’s first opera, L’Enfant Prodigue as part of the International Congress where the American Recording Guide mentioned her “full, rich soprano voice.” Nicole has reprised the role of the Queen of the Night in San Jose, Costa Rica and Mazatlan, Mexico with Triangle Project where the local critics applauded her command of the role. She also added the role of the First Lady to her performance repertory.
Nicole has been a pioneer creating new opportunities for herself and others. In March of 2006, she produced and performed a concert of works by African American composers. This concert was done again with new music on a much grander scale in February 2007, becoming The University of Texas School of Music first ever Black History celebration. This will now be a standard annual concert at the university (see the banner ad below).
She has started a new arts organization in Austin called the Black Tie Vocal Ensemble which will continue to perform works by African American composers and give performance opportunities to deserving young artist in classical music and jazz.
Want to see Nicole in action? Then check out the video below of Nicole as – Lia – at the Butler Opera Center’s Claude Debussy International Congress from L’Enfant Prodigue!
So if you have some talented Taylors from the Texas area in your family tree, let me hear from you because – I’m Claiming Kin!