Julia Suzanne Lindsay Grenon
Julia Lindsay, soprano, is enjoying a successful career as a soloist, voice teacher, and producer and director of vocal theater productions. She has served for 25 years as coordinator of voice studies in the Andrews University department of music and was the Associate Choral Director for the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra for ten years.
Julia was born in Virginia, one of four children and the younger of two daughters of Harold Milton and Grace Victoria Barrows Lindsay. Her father was a Seventh-day Adventist singing evangelist and multi-talented natural musician with a remarkable baritone voice who also played trumpet and piano. Her mother, a dermatologist, was an accomplished pianist who taught all of the children to play piano.
Music was a central activity in the home, and all of the children sang and played an instrument. Julia began singing publicly at age four and also often joined as a child with her siblings to sing as a group in churches and at camp meetings. Throughout her elementary school years she was a section leader in the school's choirs and assisted her music teachers as they prepared programs.
While attending Takoma Academy in Maryland, she gave her first recital at age sixteen in her father's church in Hyattsville, Maryland, accompanied by Roland McElroy, a friend of the family who also became an inspiring mentor in her musical development. Following graduation from the academy in 1974, she enrolled at Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, where she completed a B.S. in music education in 1980 with voice as her performance area.
Immediately after graduation, Lindsay worked for four years in her mother's office and successfully auditioned for membership in Norman Scribner's Choral Arts Society, a large choir in Washington, D.C. On the basis of that audition he invited her to join a smaller, paid choir that sang in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located on the grounds of the National Cathedral. Scribner was deeply impressed with her musicianship and voice and would later be described by Lindsay as an important inspirational person in her career, along with McElroy.
While Lindsay was in the CAS, Scribner prepared the choir for a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 (The Kaddish) which was then conducted by the composer at the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center and later at Lincoln Center in New York City. Following that experience, the CAS joined with two other choirs and toured in Europe, presenting G. F. Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus and two other major works in London, Paris, and Salzburg.
Beginning in January 1984, Lindsay embarked on a solo national tour for eighteen months and would give over 500 recitals in SDA churches. She recently talked about that musical odyssey:
My parents and I purchased a 24-foot motor home and audio equipment and then packed it and items I would need as I traveled and concertized for the next year and a half. It would prove to be a memorable experience. I met some of the most wonderful pastors and people on that tour. My parents and I would talk periodically to be sure everything was OK.
I used directories of Adventist churches which were available in Adventist Book Centers and would contact the pastors cold, introducing myself as the daughter of a pastor and doctor, tell them what I was doing, and then make arrangements with them for a concert, if they were interested. I spent six weeks in Florida twice and traveled as far north as Michigan, my route being influenced by the time of year and the weather. I usually gave two concerts on Saturdays and Sundays and concerts on weeknights when it was possible, performing in return for freewill offerings and the sales of tapes and records.
In the middle of 1985, she returned home to be with her father, who was seriously ill, and assisted her mother in caring for him until he died in November. During her time at home she sent a tape of her singing to Zvonimir Hacko at Andrews University and then contacted him. He encouraged her to come to AU, and after discussing it with her parents, she decided she should enroll at the beginning of the second semester, in January 1986.
She was inspired by her voice lessons with James Hanson at AU and impressed the faculty with her singing. Immediately following completion of an M.Mus. in August 1987, she was hired to teach voice. She was also invited during her final year of study at AU to become a member of the music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda. She subsequently did additional graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she studied voice with Jean Deis and Carol Smith.
She has sung in the St. Joseph Pro Musica under Zvonimir Hacko, with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra under Robert Vodnoy, in the Michiana Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Series, and with the Andrews University Orchestra. She has given numerous art song recitals and toured successfully in Iceland and Norway in 1996.
In addition to singing in and conducting choirs and teaching voice, Lindsay has been active as a soloist in numerous concerts for four decades. Additionally, she has produced and directed several fully staged productions of operas, operettas, and musicals including Trial by Jury; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; The Music Man; Godspell; Hanzel and Gretel; L' Amico Fritz (Mascagni); The Magic Flute; The Pirates of Penzance; H.M.S. Pinafore; Amahl and the Night Visitors (three successive years); and others.
During the summers of 1989 and 1992 she was principal soloist for the Newbold Summer Music Festival in England and toured with festival groups throughout England, Scotland, Belgium, and France. She was featured as principal soprano soloist for the 1991 Columbia River Music Festival in Southeastern Washington State and in 1994 was the guest vocal clinician for the Virgin Islands Choral Festival held on the Island of Martinique.
Lindsay has been a soloist in Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No. 3, performed under the direction of Hacko at AU and in Zagreb, Croatia; Orff's Carmina Burana; Mozart's Requiem, Mass in C, and Exsultate, jubilate, K 165; Bach's Cantatas No. 51, Jauchzet, Gott in allen Landen, No. 63, Christen atzet diesen Tag and No. 191, Gloria in excelsis Deo; Handel's Dixit; Haydn's The Creation; Brahms' A German Requiem; Finzi's In Terra Pax; and the Requiems of Maurice Durufle, John Rutter, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. She has played the lead roles in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti, and Trial by Jury by Gilbert and Sullivan and participated in Grand Pianola Music, a minimalist work by John Adams featuring three sopranos, three pianos, and orchestra.
Lindsay has also actively participated in programs of early music, enjoying the challenge of authentically performing music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras with early music ensembles. She and Linda Mack, AU music librarian, keyboardist, recorder player, and supportive friend, collaborated on a number of early music concerts for over a decade.
Julia married George Grenon on February 14, 1998. They presently reside in Niles, Michigan.
Sources: Interview with Julia Lindsay, 24 July 2012; Andrews University music department website biographies, 2003 and 2012; St. Joseph Municipal Band program notes, 4 July 2012; Lake Union Herald, May 1998, 22; Obituary for Harold Milton Lindsay, Advent Review, 27 February 1986, 21, 22; 1930 U.S. Federal Census (Harold M. Lindsay), Ancestory .com