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Lawrence Vincent

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Mormon Opera Singer Lawrence Vincent

Lawrence P. Vincent sang with the Vienna Opera and then was a professor of music and director of opera at Brigham Young University. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon or LDS Church.

Vincent's opera career was somewhat unexpected. He and his wife had only been married a short time when, after graduating from BYU, Vincent headed for Overton, Nevada, for his new job as a music teacher. They bought an old house and began to fix it up. Vincent was content, and he thought he had found a life-long career. During the summer months he continued his education, completing his master's degree at Northern Arizona University in 1977.

Vincent's voice teacher and mentor, Edgar Stone, began to encourage him to consider a career in opera, but Vincent could not see how such a dream could provide the security, time, and environment he desired for his family. He began to hear about other Latter-day Saints who had managed stage careers and still had solid families. His wife, Jeannie, also encouraged him. After much prayer, and a series of profound spiritual experiences, the decision was made.

The Vincent's sold their beloved home and were led to the name of John McCollum, a professor at the University of Michigan who agreed to accept him as a private student. They loaded their belongings into a truck, and with their three sons, drove the 2,000-plus miles to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Three years later, after completing his doctorate, he continued his singing career in New York City with the Goldovsky Opera Company.

Vincent's performing career in New York City necessitated long weeks away from his family while the opera company was on tour. This is just what he had dreaded. He heard that singers with European companies were not required to tour, but enjoyed regular hours and benefits. The Vincent's considered an audition trip to Europe, but couldn't afford it.

"Absolutely no one knew of our conversation. A short time after our talk and heartfelt prayer, a dear friend called. To my utter amazement he brought up the subject of a European audition tour and offered to finance the trip. With tears of joy and unbelievable gratitude we thanked our Heavenly Father for such an incredible miracle and the generosity of such a spiritually sensitive friend. I made my reservations shortly thereafter, boarded the plane in New York, and three weeks later miraculously had a job in a beautiful city, the oldest city in Germany: Trier." [1]

Facing an expensive move to Germany, the Vincents were able to earn the extra money needed by presenting programs to schools, introducing opera. After three years in the small town of Trier, Vincent received a call from an agent in Vienna. He had seen Vincent in the tenor role of Cassio in the opera Othello and had recommended him to Eberhardt Waechter. Herr Waechter was looking for a tenor soloist to complete the ensemble for his upcoming position as director of the Vienna Volksoper, a world-renowned opera company. Vincent's improvement as an opera star was slow, but eventually the international contracts and membership in the Vienna State Opera ensemble materialized. His slow rise enabled him to nurture his family over the years.

"As a performer, the standards I set for myself long before I began my career were often challenged. There were times when I had to openly object to offensive stage movements or costuming. We must be willing to face ridicule or even dismissal, if need be, in meeting such challenges. Some will be black and white in nature. Others will be very private tests of integrity. All will prepare us to stand in the presence of the Lord without fear or shame."