The Public Honors College

SMCM Newsroom

Opera Stars Join Chesapeake Orchestra for a Grand Night of Singing at July 9 River Concert

June 22, 2010
Press Release #10-125


July 9th's River Concert at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) will be a grand night of singing when guest conductor and college provost Larry Vote welcomes three young opera stars, including St. Mary's City's own Olivia Vote, with such favorites as "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess and arias from Carmen. The singers will join the Chesapeake Orchestra to make it "a wonderful evening to be under the stars," says Jeffrey Silberschlag, music director of the River Concert Series and the Chesapeake Orchestra. The weekly celebrations on the college's Townhouse Green continue every Friday through July 30 with world-class music and a variety of food from local vendors. Gates open at 5 p.m. and concerts start at 7 p.m. These outdoor concerts are free and open to the public, and picnic baskets are welcome. For more information, visit or call 240-895-3038.

Soprano Michelle Johnson has performed at Boston Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall and is a student at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Mezzo-soprano Olivia Vote, who is much   in demand in Europe, received her master's degree from Yale University, and is continuing her studies at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Award-winning baritone Brian Major has performed with the Atlanta and Des Moines symphonies.

An accomplished vocalist and conductor, Larry Vote, also a professor of music, has performed throughout the United States and Europe. As a member of the Tidewater Ensemble, he has performed and conducted concerts at Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Kennedy Center, and the Baltimore Museum of Arts.

Silberschlag, also music director and conductor of the Italy&USA Alba Music Festival, has recorded with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, and Czech Radio Orchestra. His performances have been hailed by European critics as thrilling, compelling, and outstanding. 

The River Concert Series has become the cornerstone of growing arts activities at the college and throughout St. Mary's County. St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's, and The Princeton Review. Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, SMCM is the state's only public honors college.

More than 2,000 students attend the college, which has the highest four-year graduation rate for all Maryland public colleges and universities. The school's waterfront campus along the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland is home to the 2010 National Intercollegiate Sailing Association Team champions.