1: Who are you? Where are you from, originally?
Although some audiences in this city know me as Miss Alexandra Huntingdon, my real name is Megan Elk. I’m a mezzo-soprano originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I began studying voice seriously at Carnegie Mellon University and The Civic Light Opera Academy of Musical Theatre at the age of 12. I worked extensively in professional musical theatre and performed a ton of chamber music and oratorio as a kid. Already having a strong background as a musician, I decided to study ensemble devised theatre and creation of performance at the University of Akron for my Bachelor’s degree.
2. In a city that bustles with independent classical music projects, what makes you and your ensemble unique?
I think that what makes me most unique as an artist is that, while the timbre and quality of my voice is decidedly that of a classically trained singer, the repertoire that I choose to sing is anything but the standard fare. My primary project, cabaret/retro-pop princess Miss Alexandra Huntingdon, is centered around my own original songwriting with a few covers thrown in for fun. Another ensemble in which I’m creatively invested, Re:voice, focuses entirely on late 20th century- 21st century contemporary classical vocal music. I’m also very, very interested in American roots music and early gospel, jazz, and blues. With all of the sounds that have influenced my artistry, I’m very much a hybrid of a singer. I don’t think there’s anyone else who sounds quite like me!
3. Upcoming performances include…
Miss Alexandra Huntingdon and The Gentleman’s Intermission:
September 18th at The Tower City RTA Station, in partnership with the Transit Tracks Musicians Program.
September 27th at The Ingenuity Festival (Voix de Ville Tent) October 11th at Heights Music Hop A complete list of performances can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/MissAlexandraHuntingdon
4. Any focus on education/outreach/community engagement?
I’ve been blessed this year to serve as an outreach performing artist for both The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and Cleveland International Piano Competition’s ArtsConnect, but education is my real bread and butter. I currently maintain a full time vocal studio in residence at The Aurora School of Music. I’m also proud to serve as a teaching artist at both The Beck Center for the Arts and Roots of American Music. When I’m not working with young people, I coach the who’s who of the Cleveland rock and jazz scene in my private studio in Ohio City.
5. What are some of your long-term artistic plans/goals?
Miss A and the boys have just recorded a REALLY cool live album, so I’ll be spending a fair amount of time promoting and planning a spectacular album release show this winter. After that, a little bit of touring will certainly be in order! Re:voice is also very excited to be included on Kent State’s Vanguard Guest Artists series this year.
6. Craziest gig or performance memory?
I’ve performed in all kinds of settings, from parking garages and subway stations to second story balconies and pop-up vaudeville tents. One of the craziest things I routinely do as Miss Alexandra is throw PB&J sandwiches at my audience. This year at Larchmere Porchfest, I got to throw sandwiches from the balcony of an apartment building clear across to the crowd on the other side of 127th St! It was a truly gleeful experience.
7. Most moving/satisfying/affirming performance memory?
About a decade ago when my grandfather was succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease, my family urged me to sing for him. At this point in his decline, he had become unresponsive to most stimuli, but when I finished singing he whispered “first place, first place”. It still tears me up to think of it. The experience of music goes far beyond mere cognition. We’ll never really know what his experience was, but we can be sure that it was powerful enough to provoke speech. I don’t think I’ll ever have a more important audience.
8. Favorite NON-musical activity?
Thrift store shopping! Also, cooking, yoga/pilates, running, and cycling about town.
9. Favorite NON-classical music and/or artistic inspiration?
Joni Mitchell and Gustav Klimt, all day long.
10. What do you love most about Cleveland’s independent classical music scene?
I love what an amazing and supportive community it has become. I have both great friends and collaborators that I wouldn’t have met had it not been for Classical Revolution!