MEET THE ARTISTS
EMILY YOCUM BLACK
Teaching Artist for ONCE UPON A TIME
Described as a "sleek and glistening vocal talent" (San Francisco Chronicle), soprano Emily Yocum Black is emerging as a versatile and accomplished performer of many genres of music. Known for her sparkling, clear tone and particular gifts as a communicator, she feels at home in art song, chamber music, oratorio, choral, opera, and musical theatre. Emily has performed major works with orchestras and chamber ensembles across the U.S. including the Savannah Philharmonic, the Louisville Orchestra, the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, the Jackson Symphony, American Bach Soloists, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Spire Chamber Ensemble, Madison Bach Musicians, and Boubon Baroque. Recent engagements include Bach's B Minor Mass with Spire Chamber Ensemble, soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah with Bourbon Baroque and Spire Chamber Ensemble, Festival Recital Artist with the Savannah VOICE Festival, and soprano soloist for POPS Concerts with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, the Jackson Symphony, and the Savannah Philharmonic. Competitions include the 2019 Silver Medal and 2018 Sherrill Milnes Opera Award at the American Traditions Vocal Competition, First Place in the American Prize for Art Song - Professional Division, 1st Place in the 2019 Mid-South NATSAA Competition, 2nd Place in the 7th Annual Handel Aria Competition, and 1st Place in the 2016 Kentucky Bach Choir Audrey Rooney Vocal Competition.
Emily is an alumnus of SongFest (2017, 2014), American Bach Soloists Academy (2018), Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (2018), Savannah VOICE Festival (2020, 2019), RISE Camp at Crested Butte Music Festival (2020), and Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar (postponed until 2021). She holds bachelors and masters degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Louisville School of Music where she was a Teaching Assistant in her graduate degree. Upon returning to her hometown of Paducah, Kentucky in 2017, Emily opened up the Atomic City Voice Studio and began teaching private voice there at local public schools. Emily is an active participant in the Market House Theatre, Paducah's award-winning community theater, as music director of children's shows and a performer. She is also co-founder of the choral ensemble, The Paducah Singers, along with her husband Fowler.
Co-Creator, Performer, Teaching Artist for ONCE UPON A TIME
Mezzo-soprano Maria Miller is a proud native of Paducah, KY, and is an emerging performer in opera, concert, and new music. She tries to find ways to incorporate her background in children's theatre, her language skills, and her passion for innovative performance into the art form of opera. In her house debut at Cincinnati Opera, originating the role of Nancy Smith in the world premiere of Blind Injustice, Opera News writes: "Miller made a very strong impression, showing a warm lyric voice with an easy top." Before the cancellations due to the safety concerns of the coronavirus, Ms. Miller was to join the 2020 Apprentice Artist Program at Santa Fe Opera, covering the Turnspit in Rusalka.
At home in new music, Miller has sung in Cincinnati Opera Fusion Workshops as the role of Rumer in William Menefield’s Fierce, as Celeste in Gregory Spears' Castor and Patience, and as Nancy Smith in Scott Davenport Richards’ Blind Injustice, which she later premiered in the mainstage season. She also performed the rare chamber work, Bettina Skrzypczak’s Miroirs, as part of the Café MoMus Polish Festival. On the concert stage, she will appear as a soloist for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Hilton Head Symphony. She has performed as the alto soloist in Handel's Messiah and Bach B Minor Mass with Collegium Cincinnati, and Bernstein's MASS with the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus. Miller received an Encouragement Award at the 2020 MONC Southeast Regional Auditions, and was a winner of the West Tennessee District Auditions. She also received an Encouragement Award at the 2019 MONC Southeast Regional Auditions the previous year, after having won the West Tennessee District Auditions. She has received the Treigle Award in the 2019 Corbett Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. Miller holds a Master of Music in Voice from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where she also holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice. Her education is also represented by studies in Vocal Performance and French at the University of Louisville School of Music, and Theatre studies and French at the University of Evansville.