Each week we will be sharing some fun stories and facts about our 2023 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars! Starting on March 6th, they will be rehearsing and living at Caramoor up until their performance on March 12th. We hope you will join us!
This week we are introduced to baritone Joseph Parrish!
If Joseph Parrish had never developed his singing voice, perhaps instead of his songs you would be hearing sportscasters spouting about his three-pointers on the basketball court. One of his earliest role models was NBA All-Star Allen Iverson who, in spite of his shorter stature, had a fierce crossover dribble and tough fighting spirit that Joseph admired.
While these days Joseph spends far more time training his vocal cords than his jump shot, he still takes great care to keep himself in shape. To prepare for concertizing, he works out 3-4 times a week, enjoys nourishing (and flavorful!) cuisine from his Spanish Harlem neighborhood, stays well hydrated, and gets plenty of sleep.
But sleep is a slightly sensitive topic for him…
Rewind to a humbling moment in 2016 at Baltimore High School for the Arts, where a teen Joseph was performing as a soloist in a Haydn Mass with his school chorus and orchestra. It was a slow movement, and he was sandwiched between the orchestra and chorus on a particularly hot stage. He must have nodded off during a divertimento… because a tap on the shoulder jolted him awake and he had to find his place fast in the score! He vowed to never again close his eyes during a concert (at least not one that he’s soloing in).
If you force him to pick just one cause that he’s committed to, it would be creating a more diverse and inclusive music field. He is a proud member of the inaugural cohort of The Denyce Graves Foundation’s Shared Voices, a unique collaboration between Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), top conservatories, and music schools across the country. Its mission is to address diversity, inclusion, and equity in a groundbreaking way.
And, if you celebrate the holidays with gift-giving, be sure to double up for this rising star — his birthday falls on Christmas Day, which he believes contributed to his parents naming him Joseph. With his dad as the pastor, the church played a major role in his upbringing and provided many young performance opportunities. It’s where he first discovered that his voice was a treasure that could bring him and others immense joy.