Singer Kenny Williams Performs On Broadway

By on 11-28-2005 in Meet the Session Singers

Kenny Williams Banzai Lion King

Kenny Williams Antelope Lion King

by Gary Powell

Kenny Williams auditioned his way into my life in 1987 while he was studying voice at the University of Texas. In my life he has been and will stay. Kenny started his theatrical career at Austin’s Zachary Scott Theater Center performing in “Once on This Island,” “Five Guys Named Moe,” “Forever Plaid,” “Blues in The Night,” “Gospel at Colonus” and originated his unforgetable toes-turned-up-elfish role in “Rockin’ Christmas Party” – the “Beehive” spin-off created by Austin director Dave Steakley.

Joe York


In Memoriam (1957-2007)

By on 11-28-2005 in Meet the Session Singers

by Gary Powell

Singer-Actor Joe York

Joe York’s life was somehow substantive without arrogance and beautiful with neither posing or posturing. The vocal performances he delivered over a twenty year period in my studio cannot be held appropriately significant in a simple list as below. Although all these songs were performed beautifully, it’s Joe’s presence we will all miss the most.

Joe’s memorial tribute was held at Austin’s Outdoor Zilker Park Theater on September 8th, 2007. All of us who have shared Joe’s theatrical and personal life will carry his warm, gentle spirit with us forever. None of us, however, will ever reproduce his rich baritone voice which was solely Joe’s gift to all of us who have ever have heard him.

Robin Huston


The Voice, the Ear, the Looks

By on 11-28-2005 in Meet the Session Singers

By Gary Powell

How does one know when meeting a person for the first time that they will become a career-long musical colleague and life-long friend? Freshman Robin Huston showed up for an audition at the University of Texas for Ensemble 109 the very first semester I started directing the vocal group in January, 1985. Singer Robin Huston

The Many Talents of Alicia Jones

By on 11-28-2005 in Meet the Session Singers

by Gary Powell

My singing relationship began with Alicia in 1990 in the last two years of my teaching appointment in the Department of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. Alicia Jones Austin Singer

Alicia remembers auditioning for Ensemble 109, a recording studio vocal training and performing ensemble, and not making it the first year. Persevering, she was accepted the next semester after her second effort. It’s hard to imagine my missing this young woman’s talent the first time I heard her. Alicia graduated U.T. in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. She earned a Master’s Degree in 2000 in Software Engineering from National Technological University.

Singing with Helen Darling Since 1985

By on 11-28-2005 in Meet the Session Singers

by Gary Powell

(Click here to visit Helen Darling’s website.)
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It was January, 1985. Helen walked into the classroom at the University of Texas to audition for the performing vocal group, Ensemble 109, I was directing. I’m pretty sure she had a bow in her hair. She could barely speak, much less sing, due to laryngitis. Nonetheless, she was game for giving it a try. She sat at the piano and struggled to get any tone out at all performing one of her original songs. Obviously when someone sings for you with nothing but air and you can still hear the soul, then you have met a singer. Helen has been in my life both professionally and personally ever since.

Laura Benedict, Singer/Singer/Singer

By on 11-28-2005 in Meet the Session Singers

by Gary Powell

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The first time I heard Laura Benedict Scott sing was in the mid 1980’s at an Austin club “Toulouse” on 6th Street. She had a commanding stage presence and was ripping Aretha Franklin’s “Think” like no other singer I had ever heard. Laura has been an important part of my studio ever since.

Laura has performed across the country with the popular Austin band, “Rotel and the Hot Tomotoes”, for twenty years. With them, Laura has made two separate appearances performing at the White House for President Bush. Laura has also been featured in starring roles at Zachary Scott Theatre Center, in Austin for the shows “Beehive”, “Rockin’ Christmas Party”, “Soul Sisters” and an amazing performance as Pasty Cline in “Always Patsy Cline”.