by Alex DiBlasi
For Philadelphia voice teacher Angela Gilbert, singing brings back some cherished memories of her childhood in South Africa. On family trips, she and her sisters used to sing – in harmony – to pass the time. “I remember being so sad when any trip would end,” Angela said, “because this meant the singing would end, too.” Growing up in a musical household – her father was the choir director at their church – Angela’s parents recognized her talent and enrolled her in schools renowned for their choirs.
After attending school at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Angela came to the United States as part of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, offered by the Metropolitan Opera of New York City. While living in New York, she represented her home country in the 2003 Singer of the World Competition. In her years traveling, Angela has performed in fifteen countries across three continents.
Angela started teaching for Musika in 2007 and has worked with over forty students in the span of what she calls “five challenging, wonderful, blissful, tough, and ecstatic years.” As a teacher, her preferred method book is Richard Miller’s The Art of Singing; Angela favors an individualized approach with her students, where their own needs and skill levels dictate the content of her lessons.
“I live for moments when my hard working students make breakthroughs,” Angela said. “[When] I see in their eyes that they have understood that their grind makes things happen […] I know that is a philosophy that will make them successful at everything in their life, not just learning to sing!”
Angela’s fondest memory of teaching with Musika is hosting the Summer Recital this past June in Philadelphia. Along with her hosting duties, Angela had several students participate: “I felt like my students had come so far and they gave such a marvelous account of themselves,” she said, adding that “many of the students came to their next lessons with extravagant ideas for next year, so I felt super-pleased.”
Besides teaching for Musika, Angela still performs in the area. In her spare time, she loves spending time at home with her beagle, Bailey, cooking with her boyfriend, and is a self-proclaimed Scrabble fanatic.