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9th Annual Sing For Their Supper

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Sunday, February 25th

On Sunday, February 25 at 3pm, Milton Community Concerts will present the ninth annual “Sing For Their Supper” benefit concert at the First Parish Church of Milton at 535 Canton Avenue. This event will feature 10 opera singers from around New England in a popular program of opera and musical theater favorites to support two local charities.

This year’s concert features a completely new lineup of artists: sopranos Yeonjae Cho, Sarah Joyce Cooper, Melynda Davis, Aurora Martin, and Emily Tweedy; mezzo-sopranos Tahanee Aluwihare and Chihiro Asano; tenors Daon Drisdom and Neal Ferreira; and baritone Joel Clemens. Special guest singers will be Grace Allendorf and Tamara Ryan. They will be assisted by pianist Timothy Steele.

Collectively these singers have sung roles with many opera companies, both nationally and internationally. They also have distinguished careers as recitalists and concert artists.

This is a free concert (no tickets needed) with all net proceeds collected from a free-will offering to benefit the Milton Food Pantry and Milton Residents Fund. All performers are donating their time and talent to support these two charities.

Arrive early for the best seating. There is ample parking available and the venue is accessible.

This concert is supported by a Cultural Sector Recovery Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as well as an additional grant from the Milton Cultural Council (a part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council).

Artist Headshots and Bios

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Hailed as “impeccable” and praised for her “dusky instrument”, mezzo-soprano Tahanee Aluwihare is regularly in demand for her unique vocal timbre and vibrant stage presence. A native of Sri Lanka, she made her debut with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka at the age of seventeen and since has performed in Asia, Europe, and North America.

In the 2023-2024 season, she made her debut with Teatro Grattacielo in New York City, as La Gran Vestale in La Vestale in celebration of Maria Callas’ 100th birth anniversary. She joins Resonance Works in Pittsburgh for a concert This Love Between Us, which features Reena Esmail’s work of the same name, alongside J.S. Bach’s Magnificat.

At the start of the 2022-2023 season, she made her debut with Opera San Jose as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro. She returned to Boston Camerata to play the title role of Dido in Dido and Aeneas, receiving acclaim for her portrayal which “richly embodied the internal struggles of a smitten monarch wrestling against fate” (The Arts Fuse). She returned to Opera Idaho as Ježibaba for their lauded production of Rusalka, and revisited the title role in Holst’s opera Savitri with Cambridge Chamber Ensemble after “exquisite poetic and dramatic singing” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer) in previous performances of the role.

In previous seasons, Ms. Aluwihare has worked with Opera Memphis, Charlottesville Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Idaho, and City Lyric Opera, among others.

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Chihiro Asano, a mezzo-soprano based in Boston and a native of Japan, is a graduate of the New England Conservatory, having earned a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy (2022) and a Graduate Diploma in Vocal Performance (2023). Chihiro was a Puerto Rico District Winner in the 2023 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition.

The 2023 season showcased Ms. Asano's exceptional artistry, emphasizing her singular brilliance as an interpreter of contemporary musical expressions.  Esteemed musical venues throughout Massachusetts routinely showcase Chihiro's versatile talent, such as Boston Lyric Opera. White Snake Opera, MassOpera, NEMPAC, Cambridge Chamber Ensemble, and Nightingale Vocal Ensemble.


Yeonjae Cho is a Korean coloratura soprano who has performed in numerous operas, including the roles of Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Norina in Don Pasquale, Eurydice in Orphée aux Enfers, Diana in La Calisto, Diana in L’arbore di Diana, Setsuko in An American Dream, Aminta in Il Re Pastore, Mrs.Jenks in The Tender Land and Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte.


During the 2024/25 season, she joined the Mary Ragland Emerging Artist Program at the Nashville Opera. Her newest engagements at Nashville Opera include singing Josephine Corcoran in A.Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore and Lucia in G.Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor(cover). This season, she will be featured as Adele in Die Fledermaus at the New England Conservatory.


She has showcased her talent in various roles, including Lucia from Lucia di Lammermoor, Tytania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Zerlina from Don Giovanni in the NEC Perkin Opera Scenes Program. In the past year, she performed as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Great Mass in c minor at Jordan Hall and Gabriela Lena Frank’s Conquest Requiem with NEC Philharmonia and Chorus in the Boston Symphony Hall as the East Coast premiere.


Additionally, she was named as a Boston District Winner by the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and being awarded the Wendy Shattuck Presidential Scholarship in 2023. She pursued the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree at the Seoul National University with honors and she earned a Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory. She is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at the New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Bradley Williams.


Hailed as a “smooth, thrilling Baritone” and “strong dramatic actor” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Baritone Joel Clemens is quicklyn becoming known across the East Coast for his exemplary musicianship and dynamic characterization across a broad range of challenging repertoire.

Joel recently completed a residency with Chautauqua Institution, where he served as a teaching artist and gave touring performances of Zarzuela-inspired children’s opera. He returns to Boston for the 2023-2024 season to be featured in West End Lyric’s inaugural Joys of Music concert, and Boston Opera Collaborative’s “Whispers: Echoes from the Halls,” an immersive opera experience. A frequent performer with Boston Lyric Opera, he will appear in the chorus of The Anonymous Lover, and rejoin the chorus of Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra in Norma. In April, Joel will be joining Boston Conservatory at Berklee as a guest artist to sing Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other notable operatic roles include Conte Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Sid (Albert Herring), Publio (La Clemenza di Tito), Valentin (Faust), and Guglielmo (Così fan Tutte).

Equally comfortable in 21st-century repertoire, Joel will reprise the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s For a Look or a Touch with West End Lyric this Spring. He recently premiered three roles in White Snake Projects’ second annual Let’s Celebrate series, which draws on cultural traditions with shows that reflect their diverse community of artists. Joel also created the role of Charles Ives in Robert Carl’s Harmony with libretto by acclaimed American writer Russel Banks, produced by Seagle Festival. Other notable contemporary roles include Hannah Younger (As One), Hawkins Fuller (Fellow Travelers), and Joseph De Rocher (Dead Man Walking).

Joel is a proud alumnus of Seagle Festival’s Emerging Artist Program, which he attended for two summers. He is a recent graduate of Boston Conservatory’s prestigious Master of Music in Opera Performance program, where he was the recipient of the Miles A. Fish III Scholarship. He holds a Bachelor of Music from James Madison University, where he was awarded the Showalter Scholar Award.


Sarah Joyce Cooper has received praise for her "meltingly beautiful" (Opera
News) singing and “passionate power” (Parterre Box). Performance this season
include a return to Carnegie Hall as the soloist in a performance of John Rutter’s
Magnificat and Stephen Schwartz’s When You Believe, an appearance with the
Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra as Clotilde in a semi-staged production of
Bellini’s Norma, and a debut with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra as a soloist
in Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder. As an Emerging Artist with Boston Lyric Opera, Ms.
Cooper will appear in mainstage performances of Joseph Bologne’s The
Anonymous Lover
as a chorus member, covering the role of Jeannette. Ms.
Cooper also looks forward to making her debut with Seattle Opera as Minnie Tate
in Tazewell Thompson’s Jubilee in October 2024. Recent performance credits
include Juliette in Roméo et Juliette (Opera Western Reserve), Clorinda in La
(Syracuse Opera), Violetta in La Traviata (MassOpera), La Charmeuse
in Thaïs (Maryland Lyric Opera), and Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (Savannah
Voice Festival). Ms. Cooper has also appeared as a soloist with the Handel and
Haydn Society Chamber Choir, the MIT Concert Choir, the Rochester Oratorio
Society, and the Harvard Radcliffe Chorus. She completed her BA in French at
Princeton University, and received her Master of Music Degree in Vocal
Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. In addition to
performing, Ms. Cooper serves as Executive Assistant for Help!ComeHome!, a
nonprofit dedicated to meeting the needs of under-served communities
throughout the US in Jesus’ Name.

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Soprano, Melynda Davis, is a Boston-based singer specializing in opera, oratorio, and art song. Ms. Davis has performed with companies such as Boston Lyric Opera, NY Lyric Opera, MassOpera, and the Boston Pops. She has been a finalist in Connecticut Opera Guild’s Competition, placed Second in Boston’s Leontyne Price Vocal Arts, and placed First in the Rhode Island NATS Competition.


Ms. Davis joined the Mount Holyoke Symphony in their East Coast Premiere of Dark River. Ms. Davis has performed roles such as Countess (Le nozze di Figaro), the title role in Suor Angelica, Nedda (Pagliacci), and Mimi (La Bohème) with companies such as New York Lyric Opera and The Opera Company of Brooklyn.


Ms. Davis made her debut with MassOpera in their workshop premiere of Freedom Ride and returned in as Flora in their production of La Traviata. She made her debut with Seaglass Theater Company in the premiere of Whaling Women.


In 2022/2023 Ms. Davis made her debut with Greater Worcester Opera in the title role of Suor Angelica and joined Boston Lyric Opera in their productions of Romeo and Juliet, La Bohème, and Pulitzer Prize Winning opera, Omar by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels.


In 2023/2024 Ms. Davis joins Boston Lyric Opera in their production of Madama Butterfly, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra in their production of Norma, and performing and producing various concerts Opera on Tap Boston.


Melynda serves as a Board member for Opera on Tap Boston and Boston Singer’s Resource and is a member of their rosters.

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Georgia native and graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music, tenor Daon Drisdom is praised for his rich tone and compelling stage presence. His classical credits include performances in the baritone and tenor repertoires.  Portrayal’s ranging from Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute to Fritz in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz are performances to his success. He continues to perform regularly with music organizations in Boston including Odyssey Opera & Boston Modern Opera Project (B.M.O.P.)  and Boston Lyric Opera as a chorister. Drisdom sang with the Boston Lyric Opera in the Pulitzer Prize winning opera Omar by Rhiannon Giddons and Michael Abels and is most recently Grammy nominated for his work as a chorister on the Odyssey Opera/B.M.O.P. recording of John Corigiliano and Mark Adamo’s The Lord of Cries. One of Drisdom’s musical passions is telling stories and giving life to words through song. Words that are the closest to his heart are art songs and spirituals in the black music repertoire. He finds joy in helping others understand the style and stories compromised in the black music repertory. 

He has been a featured soloist with notable names such as John Bucchino and jazz trombonist Wycillfe Gordon, as part of Wycliffe Gordon and Friends for a holiday performance on Georgia Public Broadcasting Radio in 2016.  He can be heard on Funmilayo Ngozi’s Unconstrained album as a background vocalist and as soloist on the track Faith. Drisdom also has made notable contributions with YouTube inspirational group Trey McLaughlin & the Sounds of Zamar. 

His teaching credits include being Choral Director at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in Augusta, Georgia and many years of private voice and piano teaching. In Massachusetts he served as Music Teacher at the John F. Kennedy School in Somerville Public Schools and is currently the Director of Choirs and Boston Latin Academy in Boston Public Schools. He is also a J. P. Hunsaker soloist at the First Parish in Milton.

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Praised for his "rich, powerful voice" and "bravura-filled stage presence," Neal Ferreira is a nationally recognized lyric tenor known for his cultivated vocalism and eloquent expression. Dubbed a “Boston mainstay” by the Boston Globe, he recently appeared with Boston Lyric Opera in the New England premiere of Rhiannon Giddens’ and Michael Abels’ Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Omar (Auctioneer/Taylor). The tenor regularly appears with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and returns in 2024 for performances of Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk at Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, under the baton of Maestro Andris Nelsons.


A much sought-after interpreter of new music, Mr. Ferreira made his European debut in 2021 as Laertes in the world premiere of Joseph Summer’s Hamlet with State Opera Rousse, Bulgaria. His successful performance as the Visitor in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony was called “poignant” by the Wall Street Journal and “perfect” by Opera News. The tenor can be heard on the premiere recordings of numerous operas, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories (BMOP/Sound), James MacMillan’s Clemency (BIS), Joseph Summer’s The Tempest (Albany), and Mario Castenuovo Tedesco’s The Importance of Being Earnest (Odyssey Opera).


In a professional career spanning two decades, Ferreira has appeared with an array of companies including Florida Grand Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Colorado, Virginia Opera, Anchorage Opera, Syracuse Opera, American Repertory Theatre, Handel and Haydn Society, Odyssey Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Emmanuel Music, and Guerilla Opera.


The tenor’s 2023-24 engagements include the role of Flavio in Norma with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as a return to Boston Lyric Opera as Loud Stone in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice, conducted by the composer. In spring 2024, he will sing the Doctor in Dominick Argento’s The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe with Odyssey Opera.


Aurora Martin is quickly becoming known throughout New England for her colorful, warm soprano. Aurora Martin recently won 2nd place in The American Prize Frederick & Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards for Women in Opera. She was named a semi-finalist in the prestigious Partners for the Arts 9th National Opera Competition in 2022. She joined the ensembles of Boston Baroque and Boston Lyric Opera in 2022. Aurora collaborates regularly with Odyssey Opera, The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Sounds of Stow, the Arlington-Belmont Chorale, Opera del West, and as performer and board member of Opera on Tap. She joined Opera Company of Middlebury as a 2021 Young Artist, covering "Agnès Sorel" in The Maid of Orleans.

Following a love and aptitude for early music, Aurora can be found performing with some of Boston’s, and the nation’s, leading organizations. She performed the role of Dalila in Cambridge Chamber Ensemble’s September 2023 production of Handel’s Samson. The previous year, she joined them covering Venus and singing as a Grace, in John Blow’s Venus & Adonis. She had her debut with Boston Baroque in Bach’s B minor Mass in October 2022 and looks forward to singing in their exciting upcoming season. She sings with both Emmanuel Music and Marsh Chapel. December of 2020 Aurora performed and recorded two Bach Cantata’s (BWV 211 & 212) with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra. Solo concert performances include Haydn’s Harmoniemesse Hob. XXII/14, Satie’s Socrates, Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn, Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, Mozart's Coronation Mass, Saint Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, and Fauré’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. Operatic highlights include Dalila, Pamina, Micaëla, Miss Silvertone, Noèmie, Liesgen, and Mieke. Aurora holds a MM from The New England Conservatory and degrees in Music and Chemistry from Virginia Tech.


Soprano Emily Tweedy has been hailed as “a delight”, “warm and inviting”, and Opera Today praised her voice for its “genuine beauty and control”. She is in demand for her clarity of tone and earnest interpretations, as well as her comedic instinct. Recent seasons included appearances as Gretel in Opera Louisiane’s Hansel and Gretel, Serpina in Painted Sky Opera’s retelling of La serva padrona, as well as her role debut as Susanna in Bel Cantanti Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro. A lover of new music as well, she had the privilege of singing in the world premiere of Francine Trester’s Keepers of the Light with Nahant Music Festival. Other appearances include artist Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Keiser’s Markuspassion with Nahant Music Festival, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the New England Brass Band.

Previous seasons have included engagements with Des Moines Metro Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, American Lyric Theater, Burnt Hills Oratorio Society, the Boston Art Song Society, and Boston’s Eureka Ensemble. A Georgia native, Ms. Tweedy currently resides in New England, where she earned the degree Master of Music at the New England Conservatory.

Timothy Steele is an active vocal coach, collaborative pianist, and conductor, and has taught for twenty-nine years on the opera faculty at New England Conservatory.  He has conducted for outreach tours with the Boston Lyric Opera and is a former music director for Opera Providence.  He has served as assistant conductor/pianist for over 190 productions with twenty-five opera companies, including Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Wolf Trap Opera, Central City Opera, and Opera Maine.  He assisted with the Pulitzer Prize winning opera MADAME WHITE SNAKE for productions in Boston and Taiwan and the OUROBOROS TRILOGY in 2016, and for three years collaborated with WaterFire-Providence on a unique and popular series of opera evenings. For the last eight years he has been music director at First Parish of Milton-UU and producer of Milton Community Concerts. In Boston he has performed with Emmanuel Music, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, among others.

Flourishing mezzo-soprano Grace Allendorf is known for her “creamy timbre, evenness of color and coloratura agility.” A consummate musician, she is dedicated to performing opera, oratorio, art song, musical theatre, and new music. Grace made her debut with Opera 51 as a member of the chorus in their production of Faust and she performed the role of Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel with Longwood Opera. She has shared the stage as a soloist with Concord Community Chorus, Coro Allegro, Andover Choral Society, Metropolitan Wind Symphony, Freisinger Chamber Orchestra, and Spectrum Singers. She was honored to premiere the role of Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty by Francine Trester as a second-year apprentice in the Nahant Music Festival in 2014. Other premieres include works by Charles Tarver, Josh Hummel, and Dominick DiOrio. 

Grace has been a core member of Ensemble Lyrae since its formation in 2016. The pianist and three vocalists seek to illuminate musical works often unknown or under-played. They also premiere cutting-edge pieces written specifically for the Ensemble, including works by Vartan Aghababian, Charles Tarver, Brian John, and Eva Kendrick. 

Grace holds the position of Associate Director of Community Performances and Partnerships at New England Conservatory, a community service based program designed to connect students with the community. Her role there has reinvigorated her passion for giving back to the community through music. She has performed solo recitals at a number of senior care facilities including Fuller Village, Needham Council on Aging, Chestnut Hill Benevolent Association, Café Emmanuel, and Hale House. 

Grace currently serves as a section leader and soloist at First Parish in Milton and as a cantor at St. Richard's Parish in Danvers. She holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Longy School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a minor in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University. She is a student of Jayne West and has participated in master classes with Ryan Turner, Sharon Daniels, James Maddalena, David Kravitz, Martin Katz, Sondra Kelly, and Sheri Greenawald. 

Grace belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists that pledge a portion of their concert fees to organizations they care about and therefore publicize the nonprofit’s work. With every performance she supports Norwood Circle of Hope, established to support Norwood residents who need assistance due to a catastrophic medical occurrence.

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Tamara Ryan, soprano, is known for her nuanced and sensitive portrayals of women responding to trauma and loss--a calling that she pursues both as a Boston-based soprano and as the founder and General Director of Opera Fayetteville. Hailed by the Boston Globe as a "breathtakingly solid soprano" and by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as "fearless," she has appeared in recent seasons as Stephanie in Jake Heggie's To Hell and Back, Madame de Tourvel in Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons, the title role in Dominick Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night, Sonny in Dan Visconti's Permadeath, Almera in Nico Muhly's Dark Sisters, Older Alyce in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, First Lady in The Magic Flute, Soul in Sensorium Ex, and Violetta in La Traviata

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