Meshoppen, PA (PressExposure) February 25, 2009 -- Becoming a professional opera performer requires extraordinary dedication, precision and practice, practice, practice. Vocal excellence, stage presence, acting and the mastery of singing in Italian and German are par for the course. Decorated opera student Beth Allred (23), a masters' candidate in vocal performance at the University of Colorado, Boulder, however, has had challenges most singers have not faced. A 2008 University of Madison graduate, Beth was born with Leber Congenital Amaurosis. She has been blind all her life. Nonetheless, the soprano, gifted at expressing text, makes time to volunteer for the nonprofit Performing Arts Division of the National Federation of the Blind (PAD,NFB), which assists blind performers through scholarships, subsidies, mentoring and peer support. She was recently elected as PADâs secretary. Visit: http://www.padnfb.org
âI began my work with Pad two years ago and right away I was excited that we had an organization to promote blind performers,â says the Madison native, who received a 2006-07, University of Wisconsin Opera Props award and the 2007-08 Lois and Bob Dick Scholarship.
Beth, an avid reader and people person, loves to organize events. She was asked by PADâs president Dennis Holston to donate her recording of the spiritual âOn the Other Shoreâ to PADâs âSound in Sightâ project. Hear clips from the CD, a multi-genre compilation of eighteen original tracks and covers, donated by blind recording artists, at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/padotnfotb
CD sales support the Mary Anne Parks Performing Arts Scholarship, named for Bethâs predecessor, who died in an auto accident in 2007. Beth, a 2008 NFB Scholarship recipient, sang âOn the Other Shoreâ in memory of Mary Anne at PADâs 2008 talent show in Dallas.
âOften, people do not take us seriously because there is a stigma about the blind and performing,â Beth continues, âIt is easy for us and something we are meant to do. We must work together and promote one another to make our dreams come true. With the new scholarship program, I am confident that we can help those who are pursuing careers in the Performing Arts reach their full potential.â
As a child, Beth was always singing, at school, at home, and everywhere. She started piano lessons at age six. She began choir at eleven and voice lessons at twelve. During high school, she was often in the choir room, helping with the schools music activities, spending time with other students, and of course singing. At the end of her junior year, Beth received a full-tuition music scholarship to the University of Wisconsin Madison. She also received an Honorable Mention from the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts for participating in their Arts recognition and Talent Search program. In addition to recitals, Beth played The Sandman and the Dew Fairy in the U. of Wisconsin production of Hansel and Gretel, and was in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, and Ravels L'enfant et les SortilÃ¨ges.
As well as being a professional singer, Beth hopes to open her own private studio and teach voice.
Contact Donna Hill, Head of Media Relations Under âCabinet Posts,â âHead of Media Relationsâ at: [http://www.padnfb.org/contact.html] Or, Dennis Holston, President Performing Arts Division of the National Federation of the Blind Photos/interviews/info available upon request
About the National Federation of the Blind: With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind peopleâs lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.