All Saints Anglican Church will host a free concert, open to the public, on Wednesday, July 9, at 7 p.m. Sopranist Chelsea Buyalos and guitarist LeeLee Hunter will perform pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giacomo Puccini, George Gershwin, and Richard Rogers. The program will feature familiar pieces beloved by all. Buyalos and Hunter are also participating in the church’s annual Music Camp July 7 -11.
With the help of her grandmother, soprano Chelsea Buyalos says she developed a love for music at the age of four; a love that was sparked by Puccini’s Tosca. This love blossomed and soon led to the start of her formal training at the age of 11 in her small town of Chester, Va. Despite the challenges presented to her with the genetic disorder Goldenhar, Buyalos has continued to pursue her goals.
Over the years, Buyalos has had many opportunities to share her love for music. In 2005, she made her operatic debut in Italy with Operafestival di Roma in their main stage production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. While in Rome, Buyalos was also featured in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. In recent years, Buyalos has also been featured as a soloist in other concert works such as Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and Rutter’s Requiem.
Along with her classical training she has performed in many musicals such as Annie, The King and I, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, and The Boyfriend. Buyalos is an honored NATS (National Association for the Teachers of Singing) competitor, Peabody Scholarship recipient, and Bland Music Scholarship recipient. Recently, Buyalos worked with the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra on their spring and summer concert series. She plans to continue her educational pursuits and pursue her singing career.
Recently, Buyalos completed her master’s degree in vocal performance at the Peabody Conservatory under the instruction of Marianna Busching. Since graduation, Buyalos has been busy establishing her private studio and working to foster music education in her community as vice-president of a newly established non-profit Mobile Music NOW! Inc. When she’s not singing, she enjoys a run through the neighborhood.
LeeLee Hunter was initially introduced to music, though somewhat reluctantly, through her enrollment in the church choir at the age of four; however, she says she grew to love it very quickly. Hunter first experienced the guitar while living in Hong Kong when her third grade teacher would play for them every day at the end of school. She began taking lessons while living in Hong Kong and continued when she moved back to the U.S.
Hunter has completed both her bachelor’s and master’s of music in guitar performance in the studio of Julian Gray at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
Her teacher, Bill Dykes, first introduced Hunter to the classical guitar and she quickly fell in love with the complexities of that genre of guitar. She studied with Dykes for seven years. In high school, she continued her studies with Berta Rojas — a concert artist and former student of Manuel Barrueco-until she began at Peabody in the fall of 2007. In addition to the guitar, Hunter also studied voice and clarinet while in high school and was an active member of her school band and chorus as well as the choir and hand-bell choir at her church.
Hunter has made solo appearances at the Cincinnati Guitar Workshop and with the McLean High School Orchestra in Heitor Villa-Lobos’s “Bachianas Brasileiras.”
She has also performed in master-classes with Ken Meyer of Syracuse University; Stanley Yates; Lorenzo Micheli and Matteo Mela of the Italian duo Soloduo; Bruce Holzman of Florida State University; and Carlos Perez.
In her spare time Hunter enjoys going out with her friends or sometimes just watching a movie with her cat, Skittles.
All Saints Anglican Church is at 225 South Peachtree Parkway (corner of Windgate Road and the Parkway). For more information, call the church office 770-486-5374.