Best Champion of the Vocal Arts

Best Champion of the Vocal Arts 2014: Kerry Henderson

Kerry Henderson

Kingston

Kerry Henderson calls himself an “operapreneur.” When the New Zealand-born baritone first came to the Valley in 2007, “the area was pretty desolate with respect to being able to see opera or hear classical singing,” he says. “I had the idea of putting opera in the park behind my house in Phoenicia and having performances under the stars.” This homegrown event morphed into the annual Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which attracts more than 5,000 music lovers to hear opera as well as gospel, world music, even Broadway.

Henderson and his family recently moved to Kingston, where he has continued his efforts with the founding of both the Opera Theater of Kingston and the city’s 11-day Festival of the Arts. A principal soloist with Opera Australia in Sydney when he was just 26 years old, Henderson envisions mounting a season of al fresco productions at Dietz Stadium. “The idea is to bring a high-level model of opera to Kingston,” says Henderson. “Culture can uplift the spirits of people — and it can uplift the economy, too.” 845-331-3261; www.kingstonfestival.org

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