Soprano Marlissa Hudson (T '99) sings at memorial service for Chuck Berry
The public service for rock-n-roll legend Berry was held at the Pageant Concert Hall and Nightclub on April 9, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. Berry died on March 18, 2017 at the age of 90. The details of the service were published in the New York Times.
In addition to "Ave Maria," Hudson sang "Indian Love Call," "Trees," and "Night and Day." All were songs that had special meaning for Mr. Berry and his widow. Mrs. Berry had known Hudson's family for many years, but only discovered Marlissa was an opera singer when she sang at the wedding of a mutual friend's daughter. Mrs. Berry reached out personally to Hudson to invite her to sing at the memorial service.
Marlissa Hudson received her formal training with Susan Dunn at Duke and continued her vocal studies at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She earned awards for music at both schools, including a Peabody Career Development Grant. Described as a “superb lyric coloratura” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), she made her professional debut while still a student, performing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Pops Orchestra under the baton of Marvin Hamlisch. Hudson has collaborated with such esteemed organizations as the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, 92Y, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Choralis, members of the Arianna Quartet, and Vocal Essence.