We have all heard the cliché that in show business, no matter the obstacle, the show must go on. And so,with marks on the ground to make sure they stayed socially distanced and facially …
We have all heard the cliché that in show business, no matter the obstacle, the show must go on. And so,with marks on the ground to make sure they stayed socially distanced and facially masked, the Opera Philadelphia Chorus recently managed to record a five-episode series of performances that began to air Dec. 11 (through next May) on the Opera Philadelphia Channel. Filmed three months ago in concert in Dilworth Park next to City Hall, the program, titled “LOVE in the Park,” includes classic operatic arias as well as selections from Broadway favorites.
Two-time Grammy winning soprano Julie Snyder is one of the many singers on the program, excelling in chorus work as well as solo performances. Now living in Erdenheim, she says her mother was a singer, and she herself expressed an interest in singing at a very early age.
“I began taking piano lessons at the age of 5 and began studying voice while I was still in elementary school,” she recalls. “And I took part in junior and high school productions all through my education. But then came a time to commit to serious study. “
So Julie enrolled at Susquehanna University, eventually earning a BM in Voice Performance. Next it was on to Temple University, first to earn her Master's in Voice Performance and then her Doctorate in Musical Arts. Growing up near Pittsburgh, Dr.Snyder said it was the desire to attend Temple that first brought her to Philly, or more specifically, Mt. Airy.
“I loved the beauty of Mt. Airy and the ability to walk the trails. It was also close to the city but really a world apart, and then there was the cultural aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed. The people, all the places really appealed to me. And it was our home until we had children,” said the now-divorced mother of two. “We didn't want to play the application game with the City of Philadelphia, and so we moved to Erdenheim.”
Today, Dr. Snyder, 39, is proud of her roles as an educator, performer and scholar. As an educator, she has served on the adjunct faculty of the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University. She's also operated a private voice studio in her home for the past 17 years. And she has created and led camps, courses and workshops for students of all ages at such places as The Center on the Hill, Abington High School, the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, where she has been a section leader, soloist and children’s choir director, and others. With great pride in her abilities, she acknowledges that her students have gone on to appear professionally on Broadway, in regional theater and national tours and with top opera houses and choral ensembles throughout the country.
As a performer, Dr. Snyder is equally at home in choral, opera, operetta, musical theater and recital settings and has performed with The New York Philharmonic, The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Chester County, Opera Libera, The Crossing, Opera Philadelphia and more. But referring back to her upcoming concert, Snyder said, “When you haven't been with many of your colleagues for such a long time, it's nice to be seeing them and singing with them again, you know. Being stuck in your home is just not the same, so this was a great opportunity for all of us.
“We're all people from the Opera Philadelphia Chorus, so they're all people I've sung with before. So many people have been affected by this pandemic, but I love my job. I love what I do, and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.”
On March 13 of this year, just before the pandemic closed down the arts, Dr. Snyder was one of several remarkably talented local women, including some who are handicapped, who kicked off “A Celebration of Women in Art and Music” at the Pigs Alley Gallery in Flourtown. To celebrate Women’s History Month and honor local women making a difference with their art, the gallery hosted a concert with Dr. Snyder and violinist Guna Pantele and a show of paintings, photographs and prints by local artists Maura Matthews, Danielle Snyderman Miller, Judith Ross and Amy Carson Smith.
All five episodes of “LOVE in the Park” premiered on Dec. 11 and will be available for seven-day rentals for $15 or unlimited on-demand viewing for Season Pass holders through May 31, 2021. Visit operaphila.tv for details.