Color and Character: A masterclass with professional opera singer William Ferguson

By Samantha Holm | Arts & Culture Editor 

During his visit to Spokane to rehearse and perform “Symphony Masterworks 2: Beethoven’s Soul”, tenor William Ferguson brought his expertise to musicians of Whitworth University. Ferguson received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Julliard School of Music and has also performed in several operas. 

According to Scott Miller, director of vocal studies, the Spokane Symphony sponsored this visit with Ferguson. “I think it’s a tribute to the quality of our program,” he said. “We have a great facility, and they’re going to be singing in our choral room, which is a great acoustic [space].” 

On Friday, Oct. 8, Ferguson conducted a masterclass in the Storm Choral Rehearsal Room. Vocal performance majors Grant Bowser, Sydney Glover, Chloe Millard and Polina Beymanov performed solos for him.  

Ferguson provided feedback after each solo and fine-tuned students’ songs. While working with Bowser, Ferguson advised that Bowser “imagine who you are singing to” in order to enhance the emotionality of his performance. He reminded all attendees that singers “color” the stories they tell with their voices. 

After working with each soloist, Ferguson opened the room for questions. Students asked for his advice on succeeding in the music industry and insights about the life of a working musician. 

A professional singer of 20 years, Ferguson said, “If you can see yourself doing something else, do it.” Being a professional musician is a continuous process of sending out publicity packets, arranging auditions and following up with agencies.  

Ferguson performed with the Spokane Symphony on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. in the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.  

To learn more about upcoming performances within the Spokane Symphony’s 2021-2022 Masterwork Series, click here.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *