Opera duo, ACTE II, was launched into the national spotlight after delivering a captivating performance on NBC’s #1 summer show America’s Got Talent. The duo has performed to high acclaim in America’s top cities and will present a spectrum of jazz, opera, spirituals, gospel and popular music at Bethany Lutheran Church on Sunday, September 24th at 3 p.m. The performance is no charge with a free will donation to support the Bethany Arts Series.
Sopranos Olanna Goudeau (Port Arthur, TX) and Ashley Renée Watkins (New Orleans, LA) are southern belles who currently make their home in New York City. The pair met while studying voice performance at Dillard University in New Orleans, LA. They attended graduate school together at the University of Oklahoma where they first shared the spotlight together in an exhilarating production of Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Throughout their studies both Ashley Renée and Olanna received high honors in national and international vocal competitions within the United States, Europe and South America. They have also been selected as young artist by some of the classical arena’s most prestigious programs including Music Academy of the West, Taos Opera Institute, AIMS in Graz and Opera New Jersey’s Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist Program.
In 2012, ACTE II came about after Olanna and Ashley Renée joined forces to raise money through concert work, to travel to Europe for singing opportunities. While planning their fund raising concerts they realized how much they enjoyed working together and that they could create something special together. As a result, their mission changed from funding an audition tour to creating new and exciting programming that would allow them to connect with audiences near and far.
ACTE II regularly performs throughout the United States with performances ranging from some of America’s most beloved venues to community outreach programs. ACTE II has put its mission statement “to connect with people around the globe one community at a time” into action by making their Lincoln Center debut in historic Avery Fisher Hall while on tour with the American Spiritual Ensemble, performing at an NBA game as guests of the Brooklyn Nets, making their European debut in Syros, Greece at the Apollo Theater and singing at the White House for a Christmas concert at the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park. Even with all of these wonderful opportunities the duo finds it very necessary to give back to the community. They have presented opera workshops at inner city schools, partnered with organizations to reach at risk teens and have fostered a wonderful relationship with New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
The afro donning duo has quickly become known for pushing the boundaries of classical music with exciting and “connected” concerts. ACTE II’s programming, which has been described as “something close to perfection”, covers the gamut of vocal music with genres ranging from art songs, opera, musical theater, jazz, spirituals, gospel and popular music. Their multi-genre or versatile repertoire continues to push them towards their goal of becoming the world’s leading classical singing ensemble and providers of entertainment, music education and inspiration.
The public is invited to share in this exceptional program at Bethany Lutheran Church, 76 West Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake on Sunday, September 24th at 3:00 p.m. The Bethany Arts Series is dedicated to the celebration of music and art as God’s gifts and an extension of worship. The series strives to provide organ and other musical concerts and art shows by individuals of the highest caliber. The series endeavors to nurture and foster community outreach to the glory of God. Celebrating the 15th Season, Bethany Arts was conceived after the installation of the Clarence and Agnes Carlson Memorial Pipe Organ in 2002.
Bethany Lutheran Church’s organ and acoustics are recognized by experts for their quality. ACTE II’s performance allows the church to expand reach and invite the public to enjoy music with members, neighbors and music lovers.
Sunday, September 24 from 3 pm to 5 pm
Bethany Lutheran Church, West Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL, United States