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Two-time Grammy winner Sylvia McNair to perform on campus

| Shari Lau

Eau Claire’s reputation as the Music Capital of the North continues to grow as a Grammy Award-winning performer graces the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus Oct. 23-25. 

Sylvia McNair, a two-time Grammy Award winner and regional Emmy Award winner with a 30-year career in opera, oratorio, cabaret and musical theater, will hold two master classes with UW-Eau Claire vocal students and one afternoon performance during her time at UW-Eau Claire. McNair has appeared as a soloist multiple times with nearly every major opera company and symphony orchestra in the world.

 “A musician of Ms. McNair’s caliber and reputation has not been on our campus before,” said Robert Baca, professor of music and director of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire. “Her visit will provide unprecedented opportunities for UW-Eau Claire students and Eau Claire community members.”

McNair will hold the master classes on Oct. 23 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Haas Fine Arts Center Room 143 and 2-4 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall. She will work with singers in UW-Eau Claire’s voice program and also hold question-and -answer sessions in which she’ll share about her many experiences in her career. Both classes are free and open to the public.

A concert featuring McNair with UW-Eau Claire’s Jazz Ensemble I and University Symphony Orchestra will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 25 in Gantner Concert Hall. McNair will perform Ella Fitzgerald originals with the jazz ensemble and Gershwin favorites with the symphony orchestra. Tickets can be purchased through the University Service Center.

Dr. Kenneth Pereira, UW-Eau Claire assistant professor of voice, was instrumental in arranging for McNair’s visit to campus. Pereira was a graduate assistant for McNair’s opera workshop class during his graduate studies at Indiana University, and he also worked as her personal assistant.

“In my own career as a professional singer, I strive to emulate the professionalism and elegance Sylvia embodies,” Pereira said. “I am happy that the UW-Eau Claire and Eau Claire communities have the opportunity to see an artist of this caliber perform in their own community. It is rare for undergraduate music students at a regional liberal arts college to have the opportunity to work with an internationally renowned singer in this type of setting. It is often only available to students at the graduate level at top music schools in the country. I’m confident that her residency will be a transformative experience for many of our music and theater students here at UW-Eau Claire, as well as for the audience members that attend the concert.”

For more information about Sylvia McNair’s visit to the UW-Eau Claire campus, contact Dr. Kenneth Pereira at or 715-836-4122, or Robert Baca at or 715-836-4371.