An Evening with Imara

The Prince George’s County Historical Society and an anonymous donor sponsored a musical evening with Imara Ashton Miles at the Bowie Performing Arts Center on Friday, January 13, 2017.  The Society was first introduced to Imara when she first sang Christmas Carols at one of the Society’s Holiday parties and was a huge success.  At the time, Mari was a mere freshmen at Bowie High school.  She graduated Bowie High School with the class of 2013 and continued her musical education as an undergraduate at the York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) studying classical music. Mari plays the cello and was 1st chair during her senior year in the Chamber Orchestra at Bowie.  Imara has not had any professional training other than summer school with the Howard University The Children’s Theatre Workshop (TCTW).  “Mari” as she is affectionately known, is a member of the Women’s ensemble, a cellist in the community orchestra, former Alto Section leader at Trinity United Church of Christ and was the previous Vice President/Musical Direct of the YCP Enharmonix, a student lead vocal ensemble specializing in Jazz and Showtunes.

Imara is a Mezzo-Soprano and was accompanied by Mrs. Susan Ricci Rogel, a local pianist, who is a teacher and vocal coach in the Washington, DC area.   Mari sang seven (7) classical pieces which included composers Henry Purcell (When I am Laid in Earth), Gerald Finzi (Come Away, Come Away, Death), Ricky Ian Gordon (Will there really be a Morning), Gioachino Rossini (Una Voce Poco Fa), Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann (Lachen Und Weinen Du Bist Wie Eine Blume), Gabriel Faure (Mandolin, en sourdine, Danes Les Ruine D’Une Abbvaye) and Camille Saint-Saëns (Printemps Qui Commence) to name a few.  She encored the evening with “Colors of the Wind” theme song from the 1995 Disney movie “Pocahontas.”

More than 90 friends, family and members of the Society watch Imara work her magic delighting the audience with her beautiful voice in German and Italian.   Mari plans to continue her musical studies at the graduate level.  She is currently auditioning for placement at the University of Indiana Jacobs School of Music and John Hopkins Peabody Conservatory and, hope to audition at Julliard in New York.  Imara is the granddaughter, of one of the Board Members, Nathania A. Branch Miles and the daughter of the late Lesley Michelle Miles.