A Juilliard School-trained artist will be among those performing Friday night at the Richmond County Human Relations Council’s Diversity Banquet at Cole Auditorium.
Gina Gutierrez, a Puertorican soprano opera singer, is expected to delight audiences during the banquet with her amazing voice.
The accomplished Gutierrez holds a Master’s of Music from the Juilliard School and maintains an active vocal studio in Charlotte.
Since making her professional operatic debut in the world premiere of “El Mensajero de Plata,” with the Chamber Opera of San Juan, Gutierrez has received critical acclaim on two continents.
Among her opera and concert performances are the Festival de Lille; Chautauqua Opera; Glimmerglass Opera; and Opera de Puerto Rico; the Knoxville (Tennessee), Columbus (Ohio), and Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestras; and the North American première of Rossini’s “Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterre” with Opera Northeast.
She has also appeared in two premieres of contemporary songs at Merkin Hall in New York City, and a concert including selections from “Porgy & Bess” with internationally acclaimed Puertorican bass Justino Diaz in Puerto Rico.
Gutierrez also experienced the thrill and great honor of performing the “The National Anthem” for Major League Baseball in a game honoring Sammy Sosa, broadcast live on Fox Channel 5 from Shea Stadium in New York City.
Recent engagements include performances of “Nicklaus in the Tales of Hoffman” with the Opera Theatre at Central Piedmont Community College; several Random Acts of Culture under the auspices of Opera Carolina and the Charlotte Arts Council; and a performance of Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Charlotte Civic Orchestra. She is also a member of Matthews United Methodist Church and sings with their Sanctuary Choir.
Also performing at the Diversity Banquet on Friday will be Rockingham native Thomasi McDonald as part of Street Genie Trio.
The Triangle-based group features soprano saxophonist Freddy Green; keyboardist and vocalist Yara Allen; with McDonald beating the rhythms on the African drum.
Their selections will include music swings from jazz standards by the likes of John Coltrane and Charlie Parker to original compositions.
Other performers include the GJC (Gospel Jazz Café) House Band; singer Carolyn Ford of Rockingham; clogger Alana McQueen; and presenter Pam Easterling representing the Native American culture.
There will be art on display from local artists and diversity quotes on each table to stir conversations.
“We have put a lot of effort into this program to make it entertaining, informative and educational all at the same time,” said Kimberly Harrington, Diversity Banquet co-chair with Dot Fisher Bynum. “The Diversity Banquet Committee is urging everyone who would like to be culturally enlightened to attend.”
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be served. For more information, call Harrington at 910-205-8121 or Bynum at 910-582-0848.