Jubilant Sykes Visits APU

by Jody Godoy '05

On Tuesday, January 28, the audience in Munson Recital Hall was delighted by the warm and passionate baritone of Jubilant Sykes, who performed a wide selection of pieces in his unforgettably personal style. The concert was part of the Artist Concert Series sponsored by the School of Music.

The setting was intimate and allowed Sykes to connect with the audience, by taking time between pieces to explain a little about the context and meaning of their lyrics. The music ranged from Brazilian and Portuguese compositions, to Schubert and Gershwin, to traditional spiritual ballads. Sykes brought each piece to life with a superbly artful voice and a focused intentionality of expression.

Sykes grew up in Los Angeles where his vocal experience and love for music began. Being classically trained both in California and abroad, his career has led him to perform with groups such as the Metropolitan Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as in many music festivals and concert halls in Europe.

Sykes attributes his talent to God, and said that his "commitment to Christ is foremost." To Sykes, faith and art are inseparable parts of his life. "Not all songs are 'sacred,' but yet hopefully everything I do has a God-consciousness to it. While I'm singing and while I'm picking material, I'm hoping there's some truth in it someplace."

On Wednesday, January 29, the School of Music held a discussion forum with Sykes which gave voice students a chance to learn more about life as a vocal performer. Sykes said that his key advice is "to strive to be excellent, and that the great temptation is to strive to be successful. And those two don't always go together. God has called us to be excellent. I think that's our highest calling."