Meet Greg Poirier: Mastering Music

By Jarmea Boone

Greg performing in a master class

with opera star Jennifer Larmore.

Photo by Patrick Bowling.

Sophomore Greg Poirier, a vocal performance major, lives and breathes music. Greg has been singing for 10 years and came to KSU to strengthen his musical understanding and vocal technique. “I was recruited by Dr. Leslie Blackwell from a community choral organization with which we were both involved,” explained Greg. “She guided me through the application and audition processes, and was the one to let me know of my acceptance.”

Greg has always loved choral music, particularly that of Eric Whitacre and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and has been strongly influenced by the music of Francis Poulenc and American composers Leonard Bernstein and Ned Rorem. Still, Greg was cautious in pursuing a career in music. “One of the turning points was when I was in my first opera,” stated Greg. “I had been working in computers since I graduated high school and took a long hiatus from music after graduation. I then auditioned for a role in the Capitol City Opera, and received a lead in one of their productions. After that, it was full steam ahead into music as a career.”

Greg describes his work ethic as “evolving.” In mastering his craft, Greg has developed a new way of thinking. “I am having to re-learn how to learn efficiently. It takes a very special kind of person to be a successful musician. It takes a great amount of dedication and personal responsibility.” Continued Greg, “Singing is a very difficult skill with unique technical challenges. The relaxation and control required to produce the kind of resonant sound that will carry over an orchestra of 20 or 60, and possibly a chorus of the same size or larger, is extraordinarily difficult to obtain. I never knew that I’d have to spend years learning how to do something as simple as breathing again! It takes hours of practice on top of a sometimes strenuous rehearsal schedule, much like any other instrument.”

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"The Yeomen of the Guard"

April 10-13, 2008.

Greg’s vocal résumé continuously expands, and he already has an accomplished list of high-profile performances. Within the KSU community, Greg has been cast as a principal in the KSU Opera Theatre productions of “Elixir of Love,” “Gallantry” and “The Yeomen of the Guard.” Greg is also a soloist with the KSU Chamber Singers, and is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society. Outside of KSU, Greg has been in several productions with the Atlanta Opera Company as a member of the chorus. In the summer, he participates in the Capitol City Opera vocal competitions. “With fellow KSU opera Theatre students, I recently performed at the Cobb Energy Center for the celebration of Cobb County’s 175th anniversary,” said Greg.

Regardless of his musical achievements, Greg believes that his greatest achievement was in choosing to come to KSU. “I love the conservatory atmosphere of KSU. The voice lessons and vocal coaching here are exceptional. The Department of Music is in a staggering period of growth, and the school, state, and some wonderful benefactors are dedicating the resources necessary to see that its students are well taken care of. It is truly a very exciting time to be at KSU.”

Greg looks to his professors for guidance and attributes his commitment to learning to their commitment in teaching. “The faculty are of the highest caliber. They are knowledgeable and approachable. Dr. Russell Young and instructor Jana Young are collectively my ‘favorite professor.’ Their influence on my musicianship and vocal ability has been really spectacular, and they have served as very encouraging mentors.”

After graduation, Greg plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Master of Music in choral conducting while studying voice and composition. “Eventually, I think I’d like to emulate Leonard Bernstein: part-educator, part-conductor, part-composer, part-performer. I may have to choose in the end, but right now, I’m reaching for the stars.”

For now, Greg appreciates the path he has chosen. “I have had the privilege to serve under many outstanding conductors and vocal coaches. They have all been guiding forces in my choice to pursue a degree in music. If I can have the same kind of impact on just one person, I think that my career, however big or small it may eventually be, will be successful.”


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