Pelham native starring in Opera Birmingham production

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Opera typically conjures up images of dazzling theatrical performances highlighted by thunderous vocals sung in many different languages, but a Pelham native will be helping to bring a different type of opera performance to Birmingham this Christmas.

Corey McKern, a 1994 graduate of Pelham High School, will be leading the baritone vocals during Opera Birmingham’s Dec. 17 and 19 performance of “Home for the Holidays” at Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall.

Although the Christmas performance will be facilitated by Opera Birmingham, the event will bring more of a concert-like feel than many other opera performances, he said.

The performance will include a sing-along portion and a visit from Santa Claus.

“You definitely don’t have to be an opera lover to enjoy this,” McKern said. “We are going to sing some of the Christmas greatest hits, like ‘Home for the Holidays,’ ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire’ and some pretty humorous stuff as well.”

This is the first year McKern, who grew up in Pelham’s Chandalar South subdivision but now lives in Pensacola, Fla., will sing in Opera Birmingham’s Christmas performance, but it is not his first involvement with the Birmingham organization.

“I do traveling shows mostly, but I have a really good relationship with (Opera Birmingham General Director) John Jones,” McKern said. “He has been very nice to bring me back to Birmingham several times.

“Every time I get to perform in Birmingham, I stay at home with my mom,” he said. “It’s nice to get to spend time with friends and family members when I come home. It’s unlike most jobs where I stay in a hotel somewhere.”

McKern’s wife, Chandra, also a Birmingham native, will sing mezzo soprano alongside her husband during the performances.

“Home for the Holidays” will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 and 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 19. For more information about the performances, visit Operabirmingham.com, or call 322-6737.