Voice Lessons and Performances
Opera, Broadway, and More
Alyssa Wills, soprano, is the founder of The Sparrow Initiative, a performance group that uses the arts to raise awareness for the needs of the community, most recently producing A Woman’s Voice, a vocal recital to raise awareness for the problem of human trafficking in Orange County, CA. Her other community outreach work includes performances with the Skid Row-based choir Urban Voices Project; performances at local schools and hospitals as the group leader of "The Hollywood Trio" through the Gluck Fellowship program at USC; and fundraising concerts to benefit Syrian refugees, homeless shelters, and the Nepal earthquake survivors.
Ms. Wills’ concert work includes a self-created program of songs and letters of Emily Dickinson through Pasadena’s Boston Court Emerging Artist Recital Series; Bernstein in Concert with the Los Angeles-based Opera Buffs, Inc; Quartetto and Opera in the Park with the Palm Springs Opera Guild; the role of Micaëla in the Opera Buffs' gala fundraiser, Carmen in Concert, alongside Rod Gilfry, Charles Castronovo, and Kelley O'Connor; the role of Susan B. Anthony in Laura Karpman's Balls, presented in The Industry's First Take Concert; and the world premiere of Nimbus by Rand Steiger at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with The Industry; and the role of Marthe Marker in the USC premier concert reading of the new opera Frau Schindler by Thomas Morse and Ken Cazan. Past performances as a soloist include recitals at the Tanglewood Music Festival, concerts with the USC Concert Band, and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at the Bob Cole Conservatory
On the opera stage, Ms. Wills has been seen in the role of Mother in Lyric Opera of Orange County’s Hansel and Gretel; the role of Marcellina in a tour of Figaro's American Adventure with LA Opera's Outreach and Education Program; the role of Fiordiligi in LTD Opera's inaugural performance of Mozart's Così fan tutte; the role of Ariadne in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos at the USC Thornton School of Music;; the role of Miss Crisp in Henze’s The English Cat and the role of Fortuna in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at USC; the role of Lady Billows in excerpts of Britten's Albert Herring with the TMC Orchestra as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center; the role of the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Bob Cole Opera Institute at California State University, Long Beach; as well as numerous opera scenes at the Aspen Music Festival.
Ms. Wills was honored to be a District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as well as a finalist in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition for two consecutive years. She was awarded third place in the NATS Gwendolyn Roberts Young Artist Competition, a Young Musicians Foundation Scholarship, and the Theodore Presser Scholarship in Music. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society. She holds an MM in Vocal Arts from USC and a BM Vocal Performance degree from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach.
The Sparrow Initiative
The Sparrow Initiative is a performance group that uses the arts to raise awareness for the needs of the community, while producing thought-provoking recitals that engage the audience and foster a deep understanding and appreciation for art, history, and culture.
A Woman's Voice
Raising awareness for the Victims of Human Trafficking
A Woman's Voice: Raising awareness for the problem of human trafficking in Orange County was our inaugural concert in June of 2019. This concert took place at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach and was to raise awareness and funds for their human trafficking ministry. Exploring the theme of how women share their love as mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives, we sought to help the audience feel a connection to the victims they were there to support. We used both classical art songs and musical theater pieces, along with spoken excerpts from literature, poetry, and scripture. We gave a representative from St. Andrew's human trafficking ministry an opportunity to share the story of one of the suriviors they worked with, and we were able to welcome other organzations who used fashion and jewelry to help raise awareness in the way we were using music. This recital featured Alyssa Wills-soprano, Amy Joy Stephens- soprano, Lesley Baird- mezzo- soprano, and HyeJung Shin- pianist, with a musical program organized and curated by Alyssa Wills.
A Holocaust Memorial Concert
Unsung is a Holocaust Memorial concert that will feature the music of composers who were suppressed during the Nazi regime. This concert will take the audience on a journey from the Theresienstadt concentration camp, as we introduce the composers who lived and died in this camp through their music and excerpts of their letters and writings, to Hollywood film studios, where Jewish composers, separated from their homeland, acted as voices for the horrors that were occurring in Europe. By shining a light on the evils that were endured by the Jewish people during the Holocaust, this concert will serve as a reminder to the audience to never forget our past. The hopeful and persevering tone of the music that these composers wrote is also a strong lesson about the resiliency of the human spirit even under oppression. More information to come.
Songs to Live By
A Night of Sacred Song
Songs to Live By will feature oratorio and sacred concert music by classical composers, along with traditional hymns and spirituals, paired with meditative Scripture passages. The goal of this concert will be to offer the audience a night for reflection and serenity; to refresh their spirit by escaping from the harsh noise of everyday life and taking refuge in beauty. More information to come...
Songs and Letters of Emily Dickinson
Alyssa Wills was recently seen in a program of songs and letters of Emily Dickinson through Pasadena's Boston Court Emerging Artist Recital Series. With the guidance of pianist Mark Robson and Boston Court's Musical Director Mark Saltzman, Miss Wills created a theatrical experience that was part recital, part staged one-woman play, combining the art songs of various American composers, such as Aaron Copland, Andre Previn, Libby Larsen,Lori Laitman, and more, with spoken excerpts from Emily Dickinson's letters and William Luce's play, "The Belle of Amherst."
When presented with the opportunity for this recital, my mind immediately went to Emily Dickinson. Since visiting her home in Amherst a few years ago, I have found her to be an intriguing figure, whose poems are full of possibility. For years, I have been wanting to perform the Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by Copland, but in my research, I have found an absolute treasure trove of song settings by so many American composers. Her use of imagery and her way of creating a sense of open-ended dialogue with the reader allow for a wide range of interpretation in the musical settings.
In choosing the music and structuring the program, I have tried to offer a glimpse into this poet’s mysterious mind, using some of the main themes found in her poetry. These themes include: self-determination, the excitement of possibility, love and loss, and faith and eternity. Throughout her poetry, her love for the physical sciences and gardening shine through in her use of nature imagery to convey these themes. I have striven to create a comprehensive arc of emotional maturity, beginning with anticipation and excitement for what life holds. While Emily Dickinson is one of history’s most famous recluses, she had a lively and spirited personality and a typical social life, up until the time she decided to close herself off from the world, admitting only a few, fortunate persons into her life. We next move to her romantic experiences and personal heartbreak. There were three main men (all three already married) in her life that she opened her heart up to, mostly through correspondence. Most famously, she wrote a series of intimate and vulnerable letters to a mysterious unnamed “Master” of whom we can only speculate the identity. In the end, all of these relationships remained unfulfilled. She strove for a romantic ideal that could be all-encompassing and could match the depth of passion she had for life, but she was always disappointed in its failure to satiate her spiritually. After her disappointments, she re-established her view of the world and what she believed. Her views on life were strongly influenced by Emerson’s Self Reliance and by Emily Brontë’s poetry, which promoted guidance from an internal moral compass. During a time of strong religious revival in New England, Emily Dickinson struggled with her own feelings on faith and the afterlife. She famously refused to count herself among the “saved,” and, yet, her poetry is suffused with longing for the spiritual and speculation on heaven and eternity. She wanted to find God on her own terms, through beauty and nature, not through the conventions of the town church. Mortality and immortality were present themes throughout her life, particularly because of her experiences with death. Not only did her room overlook a cemetery where she regularly witnessed people mourning their loved ones, but the loss of many childhood friends and family members from an early age and onward also made death and the afterlife recurring themes in her writing. In the end, she could only look back on her life, as any of us can, pondering, “how much, how little is within our power.”
Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante
Ms. Wills recently had the pleasure of performing the role of Micaëla in Opera Buffs' gala fundraiser, "Carmen in Concert." As Micaëla fearfully approaches the camp of Carmen and her fellow smugglers to find José, she prays that God will give her strength and protection.
Ain't it a Pretty Night
Ms. Wills performs "Ain't it a Pretty Night" from Floyd's Susannah at the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition Finals. While admiring the beauty of a starry night, Susannah dreams of one day leaving her small town in Tennessee to find a better life beyond the mountains.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Equally at home in musical theater as in opera, Ms. Wills performs "Vanilla Ice Cream" from Jerry Bock's classic musical, She Loves Me. While trying to compose a message to her date she was supposed to meet the night before, Amalia keeps getting distracted pondering the ice cream that the formerly unpleasant George just brought her.
In this emotional song from Jason Robert Brown's contemporary musical, "The Last Five Years," Ms. Wills portrays the heartbreak of betrayal and disappointment as the character Cathy processes the pain of her divorce from her cheating husband, Jamie.
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Alyssa is a proud member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She holds an MM in Vocal Arts from University of Southern California and a BM in Vocal Performance from California State University, Long Beach. She has extensive experience teaching all voice types from children to adults. She has run her own private studio for the past six years, with her students winning local competitions and performing lead roles in school shows.
During her time as a masters student and as a Graduate Certificate candidate at USC, she worked as a student instructor, teaching young men and women of all levels. She maintained the highest student retention rate from semester to semester, helping her students gain confidence in their performing, no matter what level they were at.
Email or Call for affordable rates for 30, 45, or 60-minute lessons in the Orange County area.