Leontyne Price

As a young girl, Leontyne Price (1927- )  was a choir member and accompanist at St. Mark Methodist Church in Laurel, Mississippi, and returned at the height of her career to sing at the dedication on the new church building in 1962. Both her grandfathers were Methodist ministers.
Inspired by attending a Marian Anderson concert at age 9, Ms. Price prepared for a career in music at Wilberforce College and Julliard, and her first starring role was in an international tour of Porgy and Bess in 1952. She sang in the title role of NBC's presentation of Tosca (1955) and soon became the first internationally acclaimed African American opera performer, appearing in Aida at La Scala in Milan and as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the dedication of the New York Metropolitan Opera's new building in 1961.

She sang at both Lyndon Johnson's inauguration and at his funeral. During her career she earned over twenty Grammy Awards and was one of the most widely recorded opera singers. She retired from opera in 1985 but continued to sing in concerts and recitals until 1997.
Hear Miss Price sing O Holy Night