Santa Ana College vocal student, Krystal Williams, received a job right out of the blue, as fate walked through the door at her work. She just happened to be the hostess for maestro John DeMain of Opera Pacific, as he was in need of singers for the presentation of “Aida” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center that was set to debut the following month.
Krystal, who has been in the singing business for 30 years, had been a backup singer for artists such as Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross, Frankie Valli, Ray Charles, and many more. She had no idea how her day would turn out as she went to work at Original Mike’s restaurant in downtown Santa Ana that one March morning.
Prior to getting a bite to eat, DeMain whose résumé is filled with television appearances and world premieres, couldn’t help but think about his opera not having an Ethiopian chorus, which would ultimately alter the play. It was getting closer and closer to the premiere and he didn’t have many options. When he arrived for lunch, Krystal greeted DeMain and his guest, Jerold Kappel, the opera’s director of external affairs, and informed them of the daily specials.
DeMain, being only somewhat serious, asked Krystal if she could sing. She then told him that she sang pop, jazz and classical, and belted out a sample for him to hear. After listening to her sing, DeMain asked her to do a formal audition at another time. Krystal then rounded up some gospel singers that she knew, including her vocalist coach Melody Versoza from SAC and they prepared for their audition of a lifetime.
“If I can give advice to young singers, it would be, always be prepared,” said Krystal emphasizing anything can happen. “When I’m working, I have a song in my mind.”
At the audition, Krystal, Versoza and the remainder of the group sang for DeMain, who was said to have been blown away.
“My prayers were answered,” expressed DeMain. “It’s kind of a miracle.”
“Aida” opened in April without being altered due to Krystal and the others comprising of the Ethiopian chorus.
Following the performance of “Aida,” she performed at the Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles along with jazz vocalist Carmen Lundy, adding vocal support to their shows.
Currently, Krystal is taking classes at SAC part-time, working, spending time with her husband, and seeking new performances. In addition, she is hoping to soon audition for the 2006-2007 Porgy and Bess Production at the L.A. Opera.
“I look at my opportunities as blessings,” expressed Krystal. “I’m grateful for each and every opportunity to showcase my talent.”
(Information was obtained from an article in the Orange County Register by Keith Sharon, titled “Hallelujah, chorus!” Printed Tuesday, April 18, 2006.)