COLORED GIRL: The songstress on family and faith.
After nearly a decade, soprano Althea McKenzie has risen in the ranks to assume the presidency of the internationally acclaimed University Singers, a position to which she brings considerable leadership ability, radiant intelligence, and motherly warmth. She invites TALLAWAH readers to get to know her:
MISS 'INDEPENDENT': "It has been phenomenal," says McKenzie of replacing Ronald Thwaites (now the Minister of Education) as host of Power 106's Independent Talk, her day job. "It has been a learning curve for me, because in the early days I used to actually produce for him. So I've moved from producing to hosting the show. I've grown tremendously."
MATERNAL INSTINCT: McKenzie, who enjoys sewing and a good debate, is a wife and mother to a teenager. "It is fantastic," she says of motherhood. "My daughter turned 14 just this week. She has grown up in the choir. This is my eighth season, and she has practically been to every rehearsal."
KEEPING THE FAITH: "I'm a Christian, so I think the happiness I find is in serving God," she explains. "As a matter of fact, the other programme that I do on Power 106 is a Sunday-morning gospel programme, which I started out with. It keeps me grounded. I anchor myself in Christ."
TEAM LEADER: Her sense of spirituality is something McKenzie has been imparting with the choir, currently celebrating its 55th season. "What is different about the group under my presidency is that after each performance we just do a little reflection, and it brings the group together," says the frequent soloist, who counts Leontyne Price, Barbra Streisand and Carolyn Reid-Cameron among the singers she admires most. "Individually, we're all talented people, but none of us would be here if it weren't for Almighty God."