Pop-opera performer and 2008 winner of television show “America’s Got Talent,” Neal E. Boyd will open the 2010-11 Galaxy of Stars Series with a performance 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Fine and Performing Arts Center on the Western Carolina University campus.
Opening the show will be WCU musical theater students, under the direction of program head Bradley Martin, performing selections from “I Love a Piano,” an Irving Berlin revue, and “Seven Deadly Sins,” an exploration of good and evil.
Boyd grew up overweight, biracial and bullied in a single-parent, financially stressed home in rural Missouri. Opera dropped into his life unexpectedly when a school project required his brother to listen to the Three Tenors.
“The moment I heard Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and Jose Carreras, they just blew me away,” said Boyd, also a tenor, who as a youngster already was a fan of popular music.
Boyd performed throughout his childhood, college years at the University of Missouri, where he studied music and graduated in 2001, and beyond. As an adult, he always kept a day job; he was an insurance salesman when he began appearing on “America’s Got Talent,” a reality show on NBC television where contestants compete for a million-dollar prize and a show as the headliner on the Las Vegas Strip.
He released his debut album, “My American Dream” from Decca Records, in 2009, with selections that ranged from popular to show tunes to opera to hymns. In March, Boyd performed for Barack Obama when the president visited Missouri.
This is the sixth season of Galaxy of Stars performances, featuring world-class theater, music and dance staged in the FAPAC and presented by the College of Fine and Performing Arts. The second performance of the season is Friday, Sept. 24, by the Hunt Family, a mother, father and seven children who perform Irish dance and play original, Celtic, bluegrass, inspirational and popular tunes.
Ticket prices for the Boyd performance, sponsored by Holiday Inn Express in Dillsboro, are $25 for adults; $20 for people 60 years and older and WCU faculty and staff; $15 per person for groups of 15 or more; and $5 for students and children. Subscriptions for the entire Galaxy of Stars Series still are available and cost $130 ($40 for students and children).
828.227.2479 or www.wcu.edu/fapac.