ABERDEEN – Even after buying a one-way ticket to Germany, reality hadn’t set in for Brandon native and aspiring opera singer Jay Carr. After receiving checks and contributions from a performance at his parent’s church, he realized there was no turning back.
Before his Oct. 9 flight to sing for agents in the country rich in the culture, Carr sang to a crowd of approximately 65 guests of Tom and Emily Seymer at their home, Holliday Haven Sept. 13.
“I thought it turned out really well and I think people were really receptive and everybody enjoyed it,” Tom said.
Although he’s more prone to stage performances, Carr performs for the occasional social gathering.
“It’s easier to communicate with the audience. You can actually give introductions to pieces and the story behind them in a parlor setting. It was set like this in the 1800s when composers would people would gather on a Sunday afternoon and composers would have small recitals after everyone ate,” Carr said.
Mixing foreign language with English, Carr’s bass vocal style rang out loud throughout Holliday Haven for the 45 minute performance with his mother, Medero Carr’s, accompaniment on the piano.
“I thought it was perfect and the song he did about the Civil War was perfect for this house. This was so totally different from anything we’ve hosted in the past,” Emily said.
The closest he has been to performing in an antebellum home has been at the governor’s mansion while performing with a group. Carr grew up in a musical family and developed a stronger bond with classical music while singing at Crossgate United Methodist Church in Brandon.
“I always thought I’d play the keyboard, but my mother has that talent and it became clear that this was my outlet,” Carr said.
The Mississippi College graduate has since graduated from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, studied with the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre and performed at the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York.
“Coming home to perform is always a treat because there are always people in the audience I know,” Carr said.
The local connection is made because Emily’s son was friends with Carr in the church choir. When the subject came up about playing a social gathering, Emily’s daughter-in-law, Sheri Blankenship, suggested Aberdeen.
Carr is familiar with Aberdeen from monthly trips working for a bankruptcy court trustee. Tony’s Cae even named its former dish, Jay’s Country Fried Steak, after Carr.
As for pursuing his dream to sign an opera contract in Germany, Carr, 35, said he’s at the right age and level with his voice.
“If I leave from there without a contract, at least I can come back more solid with the language. There are no guarantees and I could be back in three months, but there is no reason for me not to go,” Carr said.