Narrative of a Slave Woman:
Songs of Suffering, Hope and Freedom
LaToya Lain, soprano
Casey Robards, piano
Friday, January 18, 2019
Dr. LaToya Lain, a native of New Orleans, is a former Assistant Professor of Vocal Music at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, and has also served on the faculties of New York University, Alabama A&M University, and Medgar Evers College-City University of New York. Dr. Lain’s rich soprano voice has afforded her the opportunity to perform throughout the United States and internationally. She has graced the stages of Africa, Europe, and South America, performing such roles as the title role in "Carmen," Zita in "Gianni Schicchi," Dame Quickly in "Falstaff," Baba in "The Medium," and Tituba in "The Crucible." She was the requested soloist to sing "The National Anthem" for President Barack Obama during his 2012 campaign visit to Nevada. She also recently performed as the mezzo soloist in Bob Jones University’s performance of The Verdi Requiem. One reviewer remarked, “... the guest singers did a marvelous job…I’m particularly biased toward the mezzo-soprano, who was extremely classy and had a wonderfully rich voice."
At home in a broad variety of musical genres, Casey Robards is a pianist and vocal coach known for her versatility, sensitive musicality and expert collaborative skill. Dr. Robards has concertized throughout the U.S., Europe, Central and South America and Asia. Casey has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists including Ollie Watts Davis, Cherry Duke, Risa Renae Harman, Courtney Huffman, Alex Hurd, LaToya Lain, Amanda Pabyan, Henry Pleas, Karen Slack, Jeffrey Springer, Tracy Watson, Bonita Boyd, Sara Fraker, Mark Ostoich, Donna Shin, Chien-Kwan Lin, Laurien Laufman, Fangye Sun, Joe Burgstaller, Bruce Bonnell, Elliot Chasanov. Casey is a founding member of the Patterson Piano Duo and the KO Trio (with flutist, Donna Shin and cellist, Ji Yon Shim). She made her Carnegie Hall debut in November 2017 with baritone Christiaan Smith in a program mixing popular Top 40 songs with classical art song interpretation and technique. She recently created a “Shakespeare Cabaret,” an interdisciplinary project between music, theatre and English faculty involving music by Glen Roven, premiered with soprano Risa Renae Harman, with stage direction by Nick Gisonde. Casey currently tours with singer LaToya Lain in a “Narrative of a Slave Woman,” a dramatic and moving lecture-recital formatted program of Negro spirituals. With mezzo soprano, Cherry Duke, Robards has given fund-raising concerts for Musicambia, a music education program in U.S. prisons.