Rae-Myra Hilliard

Voice Faculty
Classical Voice
Program Area: 
Private Instruction
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

Rae-Myra attneding Oberling College in the Spring of 1981 where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education. She also attended Buffalo State College for the Winter term in 1993, receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Performing Arts, and finally, the University of Northern Iowa for the Spring term in 1996, earning her Master's Degree in Vocal Performance.

Significant teachers and mentors: 

Ms. Hilliard was impacted by many individuals during her time as an up-and-coming vocal star. Severl of her most significant instructors and mentors include: Donald Lemar Hilliard, Mark Crayton, Dr. Dana Brown, Dr. Jean McDonald, Dr. Edna Williams, Prof. Paul Homer, Dr. Raymond Tymas-Jones, and Janice Pantezelos.

Teaching philosophy and areas of expertise: 

Ms. Hilliard believes that the voice is an instrument that is ever-changing, and that, as the body continues to grow/age, so does the voice. Regardless of past experiences of the student, her goal is to help them find the efficiency in vocal production. Rae-Myra supports the idea that the design of the human body is akin to a machine just as our brains are to a computer, and because of this, chooses to spend a large amount of time during her lessons on technique. She is confident that with a solid and secure technique, the singer is able to perform any style well. Still, because technique is not static, singers must change their training methods. The basic principles stay the same, but the vocalises and the approach need to change in order to attain the greatest amount of progress, and eventually, success.

Awards and achievements: 

Ms. Hilliard has actively performed in the Chicago area as a recitalist, soloist and professional chorister. She has debuted with the Civic Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Duain Wolf in March 2001 as a soloist in Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Serenade to Music at the South Shore Cultural Center.  In May 2002, Ms. Hilliard sang for the late Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich as the soprano cover for Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem with the Chicago Symphony Chorus.  Ms. Hilliard’s operatic credits include the roles of the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Serena in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Miss Pinkerton in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, and performed in the world premiere of Wendell Logan and Paul Carter Harrison’s Doxology with the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble under the direction of the late Maestro Coleridge Taylor-Perkinson.  Her concert repertoire includes Mozart’s Regina Coeli and Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Bach’s Magnificat in D, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Britten’s War Requiem, Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music and Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus.30+ years of piano, Beginning organ student

Professional affiliations & activities: 

Rae-Myra is a Member of Chicago Music Association (CMA) and the R. Nathaniel Dett Club (both Chicago branches of the National Association of Negro Musicians). In addition to being a member of American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), and NASPAAM (National Association for the Study and Performance of African-American Music). She is also the supplemental chorister for Chicago Symphony Chorus.

Interests outside of music: 

Aside from her interests in music, she also enjoys cicycling, swimming, socializing with family and friends, and traveling.

Favorite quote: 

"Better? No! Different? Yes! Thank God for the Difference!" -Donald Lemar Hilliard

Favorite practice tip: 

Leave all the negativity outside of the studio and use every moment wisely even when not vocalizing.

Favorite composer or piece to play: 

Too many to list....

Favorite musical moment: 

Singing the soprano role in Britten's War Requiem for Mstislav Rostropovich and Master class with Deborah Voigt