Erica is featured in the Boston Conservatory newsletter, Stages –
Reynolds is no stranger to the concept of raising money. In February 2007, she raised $8,000 in her concert debut to pay for a summer intensive program at Carnegie Mellon University. So far, Reynolds has raised about $24,000 toward her college education through financial aid, loans, grants, money provided by her father and money collected at additional concerts. “Last year people were a little more able to give money,” Reynolds said. “This year, the state of the economy is a factor that has affected fundraising.” In May, Reynolds performed in two more concerts in hopes of recreating the success of her previous concert. She raised about $3,500 at each concert. “Erica sets an intention, and once it is set, her whole being works toward it,” said Dorothy Ann Jackson, Reynolds’ grandmother.
Reynolds is thankful for the support she has received toward reaching her goal. “She is appreciative of everything her parents, grandparents and the community have done for her,” said Karen Jackson, Reynolds’ mother. Reynolds will continue to raise funds throughout the summer. She will be performing at 7 p.m. July 10 at Esca Restaurant & Bar in downtown Sarasota. Tickets for the concert are $100 and include a meal. Later in the summer, Reynolds will perform in another concert in hopes of raising more money. “I am taking a lot of voice lessons and practicing a lot on my own time to get ready for the concerts,” Reynolds said. After her freshman year at The Boston Conservatory this fall, Reynolds hopes to earn scholarships from the school and from organizations in Boston for the remainder of her college education.
As a recent Booker High School graduate who was active in the school’s Visual Performing Arts program, Reynolds has been able to hone her performance skills through involvement in several productions. “Erica’s breakthrough moment was last spring when she performed in ‘Hello Dolly’ — people realized her stature, poise, command of the stage and her wonderful voice,” said Scott Keys, musical theater teacher for Booker VPA and Reynolds’ former teacher. Reynolds’ personal favorite Booker production was the Broadway hit “Guys and Dolls.” “‘Guys and Dolls’ was the last show of the season this year,” Reynolds said. “The people in it were a lot of fun and very high-spirited.”
Reynolds was awarded the Best Female Vocalist in VPA in 2008, the award that went to Booker alumna and “American Idol” finalist Syesha Mercado in 2005. “VPA has a banquet at the end of the year, and the Best Female Vocalist award is one of the big awards presented at the banquet,” Reynolds said. “Peers vote to decide who receives the award.”
In addition to her years of experience gained from involvement in Booker productions, Reynolds has trained privately with vocal coach Jeanette LaVoy for the past three-and-a-half years.
“Erica has a natural facility for foreign language and has a very clear and pure vocal sound,” LaVoy said. “She is an exceptional actress, and she can do vocal tricks that are amazing.”
Through her years in performing arts and voice, Reynolds was able to discover her interest and love of classical voice and opera. “She is always up for a challenge,” LaVoy said. “Opera is a combination of music, languages and acting.” Reynolds hopes that one day her years of experience and her dedication to all aspects of performance will allow her to reach her ultimate goal. “After college, my dream is to travel to Europe and sing for a company overseas,” Reynolds said.
Caption: COURTESY PHOTOS