Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts to Present Concerts for Typhoon Relief, 11/30 & 12/14

In response to the devastation caused in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan earlier this month, which has left 1.9 million homeless and more than 600,000 people displaced, the Academy of Vocal Arts has joined forces with the First Presbyterian Church to co-present two evenings of arias that will benefit victims of the storm.

The inspiration from this concert came from alumnus Jeffrey Halili ('06), who is of Filipino heritage. "And what I can do is sing and reach out to my dearest friends who can sing as well. I'm very grateful that so many of my colleagues and teachers at AVA and my church family at 21st and Walnut are able to make these concerts happen. To be able to put together two concerts with two completely different and wonderful sets of artists and to perform in such a beautiful venue is a real gift. I hope that we can do something very special through the Red Cross for the people of the Philippines."

These artists have all volunteered their time to support this tremendous cause. They have starred in major roles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Royal Albert Hall, and many other renowned opera houses throughout the world. And with recognition from distinguished competitions such the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, George London Foundation Vocal Competition, Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, and the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition, these artists continue to showcase their vocal firepower and achievements in opera.

"Voices for Relief" concerts will take place on Saturday, November 30, 2013 and Saturday, December 14, 2013, both starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 and all proceeds will go to Red Cross International. Reservations are strongly suggested. To purchase tickets by phone call 267.687.1496 or make reservations online at


Vocalists: Cody Austin ('09), Cynthia Cook ('11), Marina Costa?Jackson, Dominick Chenes, Jesus Garcia ('02), Jeffrey Halili ('06), Michelle Johnson ('12), Jessica Julia ('09), Luis Ledesma ('98), Jack LiVigni ('03), Margaret Mezzacappa ('13), Jeremy Milner ('09), Cristina Nassif ('03), Musa Ngqungwana, Jason Switzer ('05), and James Valenti ('06).

Pianists: Ghenady Meirson, Danielle Orlando, Richard A. Raub, Tim Ribchester, and guest Laura Ward.


Vocalists: Zach Borichevsky ('12), William Davenport, Eric Dubin ('07), Jeffrey Halili ('06), Jennifer Hsiung ('07), Ryan Kuster ('11), Jeremy Milner ('09), Chloe? Moore, John Packard ('94), Diego Silva, Jason Switzer ('05), Richard Troxell ('92), Moses Yungbae Yang ('05), Corinne Winters ('11), and John Viscardi ('13).

Pianists: Jose? Me?lendez, Richard A. Raub, and Tim Ribchester. Hospitality for the artists will be provided El Fuego Restaurant.

About the Academy of Vocal Arts: Founded in 1934 and headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is dedicated to giving voice to opera's future. Regarded by many as the premier opera training school in the world, AVA provides four years of tuition?free training. It is dedicated exclusively to the study of voice. The student body is intentionally small and admission highly competitive. More than two hundred singers from across the globe audition each year for the fewer than eight spots available in each class. The program is limited to fewer than thirty total Resident Artists, who are immersed in a uniquely intensive and highly personalized program where they learn from world?renowned faculty. They receive training in voice, vocal repertoire, acting, stage combat, opera history, several languages, and each year are presented in three to four fully?staged opera productions accompanied by the professional AVA Opera Orchestra. They are cast in leading roles that they will in all likelihood continue to perform for the rest of their careers. No other opera training program in the world rivals AVA's success in developing individual artists whose extraordinary voices inspire millions on international stages.

About The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia: The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia at 21st and Walnut Streets was founded in 1698. First Presbyterian is a home to a diverse group of Christians from the greater Philadelphia region. The church is many voices but one people who seek to glorify God through worship, prayer, and theological inquiry, to live the love of Christ through service to others, and to provide a welcoming and nurturing presence in this urban community. The church is an active member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Presbytery of Philadelphia and the Covenant Network.

For more information or to reserve tickets, call 267.687.1496 or visit

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