News Archive

An Evening of Scenes From Comic Opera Held Friday

Product of 4-Week Class Designed to 'Make You Laugh.'

2/16/2005 9:35:57 AM


LYNCHBURG — Marcia Jones Thom didn’t have her first voice lesson until she was 29 years old. But getting a late start didn’t stop her from achieving national success as a singer. Since her first lesson, she’s performed featured roles with opera companies and orchestras, and has won praise for her singing and performing talents.

That’s why Thom, now an adjunct professor at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (R-MWC), wanted to share her love of opera with her students and with the Lynchburg community.

On Friday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Thom’s opera class held an Evening of Scenes From Comic Opera in the Wimberly Recital Hall in Presser Hall at the college. Admission was free.

The performance attracted more than 300 people from the College and the community. Wimberly Recital Hall was standing room only for the event.

The special four-week class was made up of music and non-music majors from R-MWC and Lynchburg College and was designed to provide students with the opportunity to experience the thrills and challenges of putting on an opera. The workshop featured scenes from Cinderella, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Hansel and Gretel, The Mikado, Cosi Fan Tutte, and The Tenderland. All of the performances were in English.

One graduate student and 16 undergraduate students have been involved in the class, which Thom believes is the only one of its kind at area colleges. The special evening performance allowed students to showcase their talents and teach the community about opera.

Thom, a graduate of Brookville High School and Virginia Tech, wanted the audience to have a good time.

“I hope people will come and learn to laugh at opera and have an enjoyable evening,” she said. “No one needs to come dressed in a tux or an evening gown. They just need to come and have a good time.”

Thom is no stranger to opera or the musical theater stage. An Equity actress, Thom has performed leading and supporting roles with various operas companies, including the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Tennessee Opera Theater and the Nashville Opera Association. She has appeared with the Middle Tennessee Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the Memphis Symphony. She also sang with Amy Grant in 1996 for the opening of the Nashville Arena.

In 2002, Thom released her first recording, “I will rise — Hymns of Hope” under Shiny Penny Productions.

Also in 2002, the Nashville Scene named Thom Outstanding Opera Singer in Nashville, and she frequently records with the Methodist Publishing House. A former member of the Board of Directors of Belmont Weekday School, Thom also coordinates outreach efforts for Magdalene, a two-year residential program for women with a history of prostitution and chemical addiction. (based in Nashville).

She is a soloist at Court Street United Methodist Church and is a member of the Performing Arts Committee of the Academy of Fine Arts.

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations