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Sylvia McNair

Sylvia McNair, one of Beebe’s former students and a Grammy award winning, world-renowned vocalist will come to Ohio University on Friday, Feb. 4 to teach a master class in honor of Beebe.

Photo courtesy of: Sylvia McNair

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Grammy winner honors late professor with trip to Ohio University

Sylvia McNair to teach master class to commemorate Howard Beebe


The recent passing of Howard L. Beebe, professor emeritus of music, sent a wave of sadness through the music world. The professor, who passed away in early January after a long battle with cancer, taught a multitude of talented students throughout his career.

Sylvia McNair, one of Beebe’s former students and a Grammy award winning, world-renowned vocalist will come to Ohio University on Friday, Feb. 4, to teach a master class in honor of Beebe. The class will run from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of Glidden Hall.

"Howard Beebe was one of the greatest musicians I've ever worked with and I would be honored to do this for him," said McNair.

Beebe taught McNair violin lessons in the 1970s through her time in middle school and high school. Beebe struck a chord with McNair then that has continued to resonate throughout her career. Though McNair went on to study vocal performance, she said her weekly violin lessons with Beebe inspired her to be the musician she is today.

McNair credits much of her musical ability to Beebe, stating that she was one of the luckiest people in the world to have him as a teacher. Even in the past year, she received a violin lesson from Beebe over the phone.

McNair has performed on the biggest stages all over the world with vocal abilities that range from opera to Broadway.  She has been asked to sing for many important people from Pope John Paul II to Hilary Clinton and now teaches voice at Indiana University, her alma mater.

With a two-time Grammy award winning artist offering to teach a master class in his honor, it is easy to see the legacy Beebe has left behind.

"The influence that teachers can have on their students' lives is often far-reaching, and this is poignantly true in the case of Sylvia McNair and Howard Beebe," said Patricia Pease, co-chair of the vocal division of the Ohio University School of Music. "It is likely that Howard's way of mentoring and guidance opened up a world of musical expression to the young McNair that has contributed to her affecting powers as a singer."

All are welcome to attend the free event. This master class will allow selected vocal students to perform a song for McNair, after which she will offer suggestions for improvement or enhancement of the singer's technical and interpretive skills.

"We are thrilled that Ms. McNair chooses to honor Howard in this way, thus affording our students a rare experience to work with such a fine artist," Pease said.

A memorial concert will take place in honor of Beebe on Saturday, May 7 at the Ridges. More information to come on this event.

Related Links

School of Music Sylvia McNair website*

Additional Info

*Following this link takes you away from the Ohio University website.