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Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble

M/W 4-5 p.m., T/Th 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble is a select women’s ensemble for the singer who wishes to develop advanced choral skills. Performances include traditional concerts on campus each term along with a variety of campus and community activities throughout the year.

Conductor/Advisor: Dr. Michael Zemek
Phone: (309) 794-7233

Who Was Jenny Lind?

Jenny Lind was considered the finest coloratura of her day. She was born in Stockholm, Sweden on October 7, 1820, the daughter of a language teacher. By the age of ten, she was singing opera roles on the Stockholm stage. As a young adult, she spent a year and a half as the star of the Stockholm opera, debuting as Agathe in Weber's opera "Der Freischütz." After this triumph, she gave a series of concerts to obtain the means to go to Paris for further study, but her new teacher did not appreciate her abilities and Jenny returned to her native city.

When she was twenty-three, Lind went to Dresden. When Queen Victoria visited that city the following year, Lind sang at the festivals held in the queen's honor. This opened the way to astonishing success in other German cities. In 1847 she went to London and was enthusiastically received for her role in "Robert le Diable." Newspapers reported that London "went wild about the Swedish nightingale," a nickname that stayed with her for the rest of her career. P.T. Barnum brought Lind to America in 1850. Because of his great influence and power as an advertiser, he roused wild enthusiasm for his new star. Tickets sold for fabulous prices during her tenure with Barnum, from 1850-1852. Her tour left quite an impression on Americans. She subsequently married Mr. Otto Goldschmidt of Boston, a musician and conductor. After her marriage, she began appearing on the stage less frequently - usually at concerts given for charitable causes. She was deeply interested in these charitable causes and we can easily add to her title of singer that of philanthropist.

Her later years were spent in London where she died in 1887. Because of her talent and generosity, theaters have been named for her, as well as streets, chapels, schools, dams and at least one choir!