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The E: Credit first guest of "Maestro Moments"

The E: Credit first guest of "Maestro Moments"

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Steven Zielke (copy)

The Corvallis Repertory Singers’ new “Maestro Moments” series features online conversations between Dr. Steven Zielke, the ensemble’s artistic director (pictured), and musical guests.

Roosevelt Andre Credit has made the journey from Oregon State University to Broadway, where he’s appeared in musicals like “Porgy and Bess” and “Show Boat.”

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, Credit will make a virtual return to the mid-valley, as the first guest in the Corvallis Repertory Singers’ new “Maestro Moments” series. The free series features online conversations between Dr. Steven Zielke, the ensemble’s artistic director, and musical guests.

The Repertory Singers, a professional choral ensemble, typically perform on Sunday afternoons – but live performances are on hold during the pandemic. So the ensemble is offering the “Maestro Moments” series to help fill that Sunday void. The series will be offered on Zoom at 3 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month through February.

The series is free, but participation is limited, and registration is required (see the related story for details).

Credit, who’s familiar to mid-valley audiences, is an apt choice for the first “Maestro Moment”; since graduating from Oregon State University in 1990, he’s built a career as a singer, actor, composer, conductor and music educator.

Said Zielke: “Roosevelt Credit is an ideal first guest on our series as he is such an important part of the cultural history of Corvallis and OSU and has led such a fascinating career in his life and work on Broadway.”

In this interview with Kami Corwin – herself an aspiring singer – Credit discusses, among other topics, his memorable moments on Broadway and his advice to younger musicians.

This interview has been edited for space and clarity. For more questions and answers from Credit, go to the Repertory Singers’ website at repsing.org – or sign up for Sunday’s “Maestro Minutes” session.

Q: You’ve worked on Broadway, notably in “Porgy and Bess” and “Show Boat.” What are some of your most memorable moments on stage?

A: I have a couple. “Show Boat” opening night was my first time on Broadway and to hear the audience when the curtain went up and react to what they were seeing – there was nothing like it. I do remember one night during “Show Boat” in New York when a huge storm hit, and our power and sound went out. In the pitch-black theater, we continued singing “Ol’ Man River” all the way through and it was unbelievable. Chills. My last two incredibly memorable moments were with “Porgy and Bess,” getting to meet Michelle Obama and Aretha Franklin. Michelle went out of her way to say hello to every single cast member. Aretha asked to take a picture with all of us and did her iconic mink drop mid-photo, it was amazing. Meeting those two women was like winning a Tony Award all over again.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current state of Broadway with COVID-19 and how do you think it will recover?

A: There is going to have to be a new normal. You cannot guarantee that the person sitting next to you has taken the vaccine (when it becomes available). There are people who refuse to wear masks and there are people who refuse to get flu shots. So how are we going to put together a Broadway show when you don’t know the personal information about everyone? Everyone will have to arrive early, (and) have their temperatures taken. … It’s going to be a very interesting time when Broadway comes back for the audience and the singers. In New York, backstage is packed in like sardines. You don’t have the ability to social distance. The meaning of “sold-out show” will be 100 percent different.

Q: If you were to give a young musician any advice, what would it be?

A: Practice, practice, practice. Study, take dance class, take your sight-reading class, just dive in. It’s ever-changing, so learn your stuff, all you can, when you can, so you can set yourself up and be the best you can be. I always tell my students, hydrate, take care of your bodies, live your best life. Cultivate your own self. People always tell me, “You look just like Barry White, you should sing his music.” I respond by saying “Barry White has already been there and done that, and that’s why he’s Barry White.” I can sing his music and appreciate what he left behind, but I will always be a Barry White substitute. I want to be Roosevelt Credit. You know, blaze your own saddle.

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