theater arts | the batavian


When the Director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee Community College first met Samara Brown, a theater student from the Bronx, she noticed something different.

“She was very talented and eccentric, and she didn’t know what to do with it,” Maryanne Arena said of that reunion in 2007. “I called her the sponge. She always wanted to learn, she wanted to do something with her life.

Brown can check this box. She was a featured singer in Season 21 of Blind auditions. Watched by millions of viewers, the show puts vocal hopes on the spot to perform in the hopes of being selected by a seasoned mentor.

Brown had wanted artist John Legend to choose her because “he’s probably my biggest inspiration,” she said in an interview on Tuesday. Needless to say, she spent a lot of time rehearsing her song “over and over” for the audition. (When he turned around) “I was a bit frozen. I think I passed out a bit, ”said the 32-year-old.

While at GCC, Brown was diligent in his craft, Arena said. She asked a lot of questions about the what and why of art and asked for some solo coaching time. A “very shy” and rather modest performer, Brown soaked up every ounce of the experience and never wanted it to end, Arena said.

“I should say, ‘OK, it’s time to go.’ She worked really hard, she never thought she was great, ”said Arena. “She never walked around like she was the star. I recognized his talent, but I wanted him to be part of his confidence.

When Brown’s episode of The voice Airing on September 27, Arena and her family were sitting at home watching the movie unfold. Arena was certain that John Legend would choose Brown and be able to lend his pop and jazz experience.

Then it happened. After his impressive rendition of “Sweet Thing,” Brown’s hard work paid off. She was chosen by John Legend and Ariana Grande. Take a break for that electric moment where Brown said “I choose John”. Arena told his students that if their taxes at the end of the year mention being an artist, it is success. And, of course, most people don’t get to this point, she said.

“We were all jumping in my house,” Arena said. “We were really excited. It didn’t surprise me; I expected great things from her.

The student and the teacher have kept in touch over the years. Since their meeting, Brown’s “oddity” has spoken to Arena about the young woman’s gifts.

“We connected right away. She was alone because she lived in the Bronx and did not come home. She kind of became a second daughter to me; she spent Thanksgiving on the farm, ”said Arena. “I keep saying it, but I’m so proud of her.

In August, Brown posted on social media “I auditioned for The Voice!” Since then, staff and professors at Batavia-based GCC have been eager to see her performance, which is now available online. Her hearing left Judges John Legend and Ariana Grande fighting over who would become her coach this season.

Brown graduated from GCC in the Theater Arts in 2009 with several musical roles to his credit, including a Flying Peter Pan in Peter Pan-The Musical, as Village Doctor in The Incredible Jungle Journey of Fenda Maria, Lady in Blue in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf, a performance which received the “Excellence in Acting to the Ladies of Color for their Ensemble Work” award and received the highest honor, “Best Long Piece of 2009 “.

A CCG The history of the alumni cited Brown’s take on what she got from her two years at GCC.

“In my career in particular you need two things: technique and talent, I think technique is definitely what GCC has given me,” she said.

Brown lives in Bushwick, a thriving art, restaurant and bar community on the outskirts of Brooklyn. She has been busy playing live music at clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, doing band covers at weddings, and working on her own original music. Yet all that time spent with the audience didn’t really prepare her to take the stage for her blind audition.

“The nerves were there, it was a lot of pressure,” she said. “Once on stage, the nervousness was definitely there. “

Confidentiality agreements prevented her from talking about anything specifically related to the show. She recognized the “long journey” she took to become a professional singer. This latest feat earned him a well-deserved wink.

“It is the fruit of what I did,” she said.

Each week, the singers with the fewest votes are sent home, until only one artist remains. The voice winner will receive a recording contract and a cash prize. The NBC show is scheduled to air Monday and Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. EST.

Photo submitted by NBC of Samara Brown


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