Llettesha Sylvester honors legendary Mississippi musician, Leotyne Price, with recital at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi

The month of March has been one that Alcorn State University junior Llettesha Sylvester will always remember. Her expertise as a vocalist earned her an opportunity to pay tribute to one of Mississippi’s most iconic musicians.

Sylvester was chosen by the Mississippi Opera to present a recital in honor of Leontyne Price and her new exhibit in Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi.

Leotyne Price, a Laurel, Mississippi native, is known as one of the most iconic African-American musicians to emerge from the state of Mississippi. Price is a National Medal of Arts recipient. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. She has won over 19 Grammy Awards, and has received over 27 honorary doctorate degrees from universities across the world.

The experience is one that Sylvester will cherish for the rest of her life.

“The experience was unmatched,” said Sylvester. “It’s the most thrilling feeling I have had in my life. It was an honor to be a part of an event dedicated to celebrating living legend who is considered opera royalty.”

Joy overtook Sylvester when Dr. Jay Dean, director of the Mississippi Opera invited her to present a concert in Price’s honor.

“A million thoughts rushed through my mind when he announced himself that I almost missed his explanation of why he was calling,” said Sylvester. “I responding by saying it would be my honor.”

It was a privilege for Sylvester to lead a recital in Price’s honor. She sees the world-renowned soprano as an inspiration, and she applies her principles to her craft as a lead vocalist.

“Ms. Price is a true example of what assertiveness and taking full advantage of everything presented to you can offer. Her philosophy on life and the art of singing is also very inspirational. She has been very dedicated to developing her instrument and making herself ready for each role she has performed in. People have only good things to say, and that’s what I want for my life and career. She is regarded as one of the best sopranos in the world. She’s a good example and inspiration.”

The biggest takeaway from Sylvester’s latest assignment was witnessing the possible paths she can take as a professional vocalist. The performance gives her confidence in her future.

“The performance has given me a taste of what a possible career as a recitalist will entail. Giving a full length recital for an audience that didn’t consist of my peers was new and revitalizing.”