Jasmine Habersham sang her farewell to Macon on Sunday afternoon, at least for now -- the young soprano is headed for the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in the fall, but gave a free recital at Vineville United Methodist Church as the last of this season’s Music and the Arts at Vineville presentations.
Habersham, a 2007 graduate of Rutland High School and 2011 alumna of Shorter University, came out smiling to applause from a full house. She and pianist Carol Goff, who heads the keyboard studies program at Mercer University, launched straight into three songs by Franz Schubert. Habersham’s strong and clear voice filled the room as she made her way through classical and romantic selections from Mozart, Puccini, Gounod and others. After a brief intermission she turned to more modern music, ending with Randy Newman’s ragtime-inspired “Almost There” from the 2009 Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog.”
“Wonderful, wonderful -- she has a beautiful voice, a beautiful spirit,” said Mamye Rogers, who attends the same church as Habersham, Alethia Baptist Church.
Rogers has often heard her there, singing in the choir and doing occasional solos, she said. But Sunday’s performance was something quite different, Rogers said. She expects Habersham to go far.
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After the recital, and after admirers lined up to greet and thank her, Habersham said she’ll be spending this summer at home, working, but has a few performances lined up. Then it’s on to Cincinnati, and after that she’d like to get into a good young artists’ program and start her operatic career, she said.
For now, it was a pleasure to come back to where she started, to a town rich with musical history, Habersham said.
“It’s just a pleasure to be here and perform,” she said.
Habersham said her selections were all from composers she likes listening to, especially four songs from “Only Heaven” by Ricky Ian Gordon, based on poetry by Langston Hughes. It’s poetic quality that attracted her to all of Sunday’s pieces, she said.
Habersham did a two-piece encore at the end of her official program: first a song from Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which she performed with the Macon Symphony Orchestra last year; and finally “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” with her brother Jeremy Johnson on piano.
Peter and Carla Dennis, members of Vineville United Methodist Church, said they knew of Habersham when she was in high school through the Choral Society of Middle Georgia.
“I remember you saying at that time, ‘Watch that girl,’ ” Carla Dennis said to her husband.
Peter Dennis said those in attendance Sunday will one day be proud to say they were there; both he and Carla Dennis said they look forward to hearing Habersham again -- at her graduate recital from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.