Susan passed peacefully at home surrounded by family on October 11, 2022 from pancreatic cancer. Born and raised in Sunnyvale, CA, Susan graduated from Fremont High School in 1967 before attending San Jose State University, where she received her bachelor of arts in music and master’s in voice. Susan moved to Germany in 1976 to continue training at the Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts and performing at the Opera Stuttgart and other venues. She lived in Germany for 34 years returning to the United States in 2010. An accomplished singer and teacher, Susan most recently was Director of the Village Voices choir and the Director of the Villages Community Chapel choir. Susan is remembered fondly by her extensive network of friends and students from around the world. We will all miss Susan’s enthusiasm and charm, no matter the occasion. She is survived by 3 siblings Joyce; Doug (Linda Mukuno); Dwight (Linda Mottet); 2 nephews; 2 nieces; 1 great niece; and 1 great nephew.
Ken Carter has been instrumental in the promotion of music in the Villages. Through his contacts in the music industry, he brought many outside music groups to perform in The Villages.
Ken Carter, a professional bass, began his diverse musical career at the age of eighteen with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra as bass soloist in Beethoven's Christ on the Mount of Olives.
After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree from Memphis State University (now University of Memphis) in choral conducting, he became soloist for the United States Air Force Band, Symphony and Singing Sergeants. His first official job was in the White House singing for President and Mrs. Kennedy. He also sang for five other presidents. During this period he studied across from Carnegie Hall in New York with Samuel Margolis and in Washington DC with Todd Duncan, Gershwin's original "Porgy." He also premiered the Three Michuda Songs of Serge Degastyne in Carnegie Hall.
A dual career emerged after the Air Force years in which he used his basso-cantante skills professionally and secularly in more than 60 leading operatic roles with some of America's best known singers and opera companies including Connecticut Opera, New Orleans Opera, Mississippi Opera, Opera Memphis and others.
Notably, he was Ramfis and Timur respectively in the largest indoor performances of Verdi's Aida and Puccini's Turandot in the history of the western hemisphere. He also played leading musical theatre roles as Emil de Becque in South Pacific; Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, The Red Shadow in The Desert Song and others at various regional theatres.
In his other "career" he concertized nationwide as the "Singing Sergeant" and ministered in mass evangelism in more than 30 countries with both Crusade Evangelism of Canada and the Billy Graham Association as soloist, choral director and emcee. Interestingly, he participated in some of the first ever multi-racial crusades in South Africa, led hymns while dogs searched for bombs under the ministry platform in Belfast, was the "Spanish" soloist in the Billy Graham Mexico City Crusade and sang with his battery driven tape recorder in a tiny crusade in Kathmandu although Christian ministry had been forbidden by the Nepalese government.
Chorally, he was bass section leader with the Singing Sergeants and has been director of choirs at First Assembly of God and First Evangelical Church of Memphis; First Baptist Church, San Jose (The Church on the Hill), Saratoga Presbyterian Church, Saratoga; The Villages Chapel, and is currently Minister of Traditional Music at Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City CA.
Ken taught private voice previously and brings that expertise to the position as director of the Voices.
Now, in addition to conducting the Village Voices he keeps a busy schedule with "Opus Four," an operatic group whose other members sing with the San Francisco Opera; "Tapestry," consisting of a world class pianist and world class violin and himself; and his three travel companies: International Journeys, Journeys In The Arts and International Christian Journeys. Until recently, he served on the Board of Christians In Theatre Arts and as Coordinator of Bay Area Minister of Music Fellowship.
Ken Carter, conductor
Emile De Beque, South Pacific
Conductor Ken Carter in the role of Emile DeBeque in Connectivut Opera production of South Pacific (1982). Nellie Forbush played by Susan Powell, Miss America 1981.
Copyright © 2022 The Villages Music Society - All Rights Reserved.