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Vocal virtuosity

Neal Boyd

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Neal Boyd has passion and talent. Click play to hear him sing "I was Raised With the Captain," from Corps of Discovery. Photo by Rob Hill

Judges on the popular television show America’s Got Talent are looking for ability, and Mizzou-trained tenor Neal Boyd of St. Louis offers them plenty.

The promotion video airing now on NBC features Boyd, BA ’01, singing Pavarotti-style, receiving a standing ovation and hearing accolades from the judges. (Boyd is the big guy with all the personality and the sassy hat.)

The weekly show premieres June 17 and will feature auditions from contestants in several major cities nationwide. Of those contestants, the judges will select 40 semi-finalists. The finals, scheduled for fall broadcast, will feature the top 10 performers. Boyd believes his audition will run June 17.

From his home in St. Louis, Boyd says he’s under contract with the show and is unable to comment. He plans to take voice lessons this summer with his former MU vocal coach, Associate Professor Ann Harrell.

During Boyd’s senior year, Harrell mentored him to the top spot of the national Young Artist vocal championship in 2000. As reward for winning the national title, Boyd appeared in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall through a School of Music program called Mizzou on Tour.

“It’s somewhat overwhelming but a real compliment,” Boyd said in 2000 about MU booking a Carnegie stage for him. “Meeting the alumni was the best thing. To have that many university supporters show up was great. It’s humbling and exciting to know they’d do that to support a student. There’s that nurturing feeling that you’re being taken care of.”

In 2003, Boyd debuted the role of York in MU’s Corps of Discovery, an original musical drama about the Lewis and Clark expedition. With Show-me Opera, Boyd sang in concert versions produced in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.