Alyne Dumas Lee
1911* - 1970
Alyne Dumas Lee, an internationally renowned vocalist and recipient of numerous musical awards, made her professional debut as an opera singer in Chicago in 1949. A winner of the Michaels Memorial Award and the Illinois Opera Guild Award, she was guest soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in its Ravina Festival concerts. Following her concert debut at the Town Hall in New York City, the press compared her singing to that of legendary soprano Marion Anderson.
Lee sang in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, appeared in the Grant Park Summer Concert Series, and performed under Eugene Ormandy of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She appeared on stage with Anderson and Mahalia Jackson, and toured widely as a soloist in the U.S., seven countries in Europe, and the Caribbean. Audiences responded enthusiastically to her programs, which included a diverse repertoire sung in four languages. She was particularly noted for her dynamic interpretation of Negro spirituals.
Alyne was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. She moved to Chicago as a young adult, where she met and married John Frank Lee. They would adopt two children, Angela and Susan.
Lee attended Oakwood College, Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, The Institute of Art, and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Following her debut, she continued to study with voice teachers at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and others in New York, Germany, and France. In Adventist circles in Chicago she was known as a gifted choir director and singer.
From 1966 to the time of her death in 1970, Lee was artist in residence at Oakwood College, now University, and served as a visiting professor in music at Alabama A & M University. In those years she also served as Special Consultant for the Civic Opera Society of Huntsville, Alabama.
*Conflicting dates have been given for her birth ranging from "about 1903" to "about 1915." This date is one provided by her adopted daughter, Susan.
Sources: "A Partial Listing of Notable Black SDA Women of the SDA Church," unknown author; Biography by her daughter, Susan Baker, at BlacksdaHistory.org; other online sources.