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PITTSBURG: When Duana Leslie came to Los Medanos College (LMC) in the ‘90s from San Lorenzo High School, she didn’t have opera even remotely on her radar. Now she’s earned two graduate degrees (a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music) from UCLA, has performed on dozens of stages, won a bevy of awards, and taught music at Modesto Junior College, amongst other things.
Duana began her training at LMC by taking a vocal class with Granville Oldham, an adjunct faculty member at the time. It was he who opened the door for Duana by offering her a chance to sing her first classical soprano solo, Mozart’s Requiem. He also encouraged her to get voice lessons and sing opera, saying that she would be famous and sing at the Metropolitan Opera House one day. When professor Oldham left LMC the following year, Silvester Henderson (now the chair of LMC’s Music Department) continued to nurture Duana’s talents and encouraged her to be a leader and a responsible student.
“I deeply respect and admire Duana's talent”, explained Professor Henderson. “She has developed into a complete artist and vocal pedagogist. Her life and talent has left a legacy for many LMC students to admire. I applaud her accomplishments".
The San Francisco native ended up earning an Associate Degree in Music and second in Liberal Arts at LMC before she transferred to California State University Stanislaus where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She continued on with a full scholarship and stipend at UCLA, where she earned both her masters and doctorate degrees.
Duana has been the honored recipient of many awards including the grand prize at the West Bay Opera Superstar competition, National Winner Saritelli-DiPanni Bel Canto Scholarship, the Fé Bland Foundation Scholarship, Loren Zachary Competition National semi-finalist, 1st place in National Association Teachers of Singing Competition, Dean Lescher Scholarship and others.
For more information about LMC’s Music Program, visit www.losmedanos.edu/music.
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