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Lift Up Your Voice! Celebrates Inaugural Recital
5/31/2017 4:20:26 PM

Sandra Barnhardt
During the weekend of June 9th-10th, the voice students of under the tutelage of Sandra Barnhardt, will present the culmination of months of vocal lessons as the first recital class of the newly founded vocal music academy, LIFT UP YOUR VOICE!

Formerly the Vocal Coach in Christal Heywood’s Gibsong Academy of Music, Sandra Barnhardt stepped out on her own when Gibsong Academy of Music relocated to N. Charleston from West Ashley. “Christal literally took a chance on me when I relocated to Charleston from New Jersey in allowing me to partner with her in Gibsong Music Academy. We grew from 3-4 students that initial year to over 20 students including adding in a Summer Session to accommodate those on the waiting list. It truly was a wonderful experience, and I will always be appreciative to Mrs. Heyward for her support and confidence in my ability to teach voice”.

Lift Up Your Voice! continues to offer vocal coaching for Beginners, Intermediates, and Advanced students who invest in taking voice lessons for many different reasons. Several of the students are from Lowcountry Voices, the highly acclaimed and popular community choir of which Sandra Barnhardt is the Assistant Director and Events Manager. Barnhardt states, “the choir members who come to Lift Up Your Voice! actually want to improve their breathing and vocal techniques to become a better asset to the choir. I find that quite commendable.”

Some voice students aspire to higher callings of producing a CD recording, performing concerts, becoming confident enough to sing lead solos at church or weddings, and on and on.

Barnhardt, a noted music educator in the public schools of northern New Jersey, who retired from the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts as Director of Choral Activities, actually taught and interfaced with two talented young people during their eight grade middle school experience – Tisha Campbell and Lauryn Hill, who later became superstars in the recording and TV industries. She is proud of all the thousands of students to which she taught music education and directed nationally acclaimed choirs during her 40 years in education, but beams with pride when she speaks of the students that have followed in her footsteps to become public school music teachers as well as choir musicians and directors.
Some of Barnhardt’s former voice students from the Gibsong Music Academy have also gone one on to pursue their careers in voice. Rev. Dr. Alex Capers has nearly completed his long awaited CD project which he hopes to be released before the end of the year. Kyle Taylor is currently acting and singing in a one man production during Piccolo Spoleto entitled, “NO TURNING BACK”, highlighting the life and times of Frederick Douglass. Young students have taken vocal coaching in preparation for auditions to specialty schools for the arts, as well as college auditions, and talent competitions, and all the students that have studied with Barnhardt have been successful in their quests.

Due to the number of students and the designation of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, the recital will be in two parts. Friday, June 9th at 6:30PM, the Advanced Vocal Students will be featured – Rina Lucas, dramatic soprano, Marilyn Goodson, a contralto who makes you think of Mahalia Jackson when she sings, and Kashundra Cobb, a versatile voice that can sing Whitney Houston and Jennifer Hudson at the same time.

On Saturday, June 10th at 4PM, the Beginners and Intermediate students will be featured as follows: Natassia Allen, contralto, Carol Bruton, contralto, Carla Collins, soprano, Alex Carpenter, tenor-baritone, Grace Ramsey, contralto, Wennie Rodriquez, soprano, Willene Rose, tenor-baritone, and Donna Lee Williams, contralto.

A highlight of the recital will feature 13 year old Wennie Rodriquez and 14 year old Taurus Huling, bass, who won 1st and 3rd place respectively in this year’s Omega Psi Phi local Talent Hunt.

The recital will be held at the Burke High School Campus in the Fine Arts Building. The address is 244 President Street, Charleston, but attendees are asked to park on the Sumter Street side and enter thru the gates to the Fine Arts Building. Donation is only $5, and patrons will be allowed to pay at the door. The public is invited to come and share in the excitement of these talented new voices from Charleston’s new voice studio – LIFT UP YOUR VOICE!

For further information you may call 843.609.5137 or email


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