A Vocal Performer
A Teacher
Media Reviews
Published Articles
Audio Video
Contact Info
Washington Report / Evaluation of Opera and Folk Singer Lee-Alison [ 6 Mar 1990 ]

Lee Alison made history on March 3 as the first westerner in anyone's memory to perform in the devoutly Islamic city of Banda Aceh. What began with a few unknown expectations and trepidations concluded with Lee-Alison singing an Acehnese prayer with Syiahkaula University administrators and their spouses. Her resonant, rangy voice was carried to an audience of over 1200 students, teachers and Islamic leaders, not counting the crowds, which gathered outside the auditorium. The audience, more accustomed to praying five times a day than to clapping their hands to American folk music, clapped, oohed and even sang a few verses of "Blowin' in the Wind". For Syiahkuala University and the intensely chauvinistic Acehnese, her appearance in Banda Aceh represented the opening of a cultural window to America and tremendous prestige.

Her powerful voice is able to naturally reach a wide range of notes with ease. Her true talents emerge when she sings opera. "She was extraordinary…She seemed to pluck the notes out of the air. It was so natural," said American piano teacher and classical opera singer Bruce Grimes in Medan. He said most singers show tension in the face when reaching for the high notes but that Lee-Alison drew the notes from deep within. Consul Bronson Percival said, "She just blew me away." Most attractive of all, however, was Lee-Alison's on-stage and off-stage charisma. She drew people close to her and answered rude or difficult questions with tact and verve. Her impromptu interviews with newspapers went very well and resulted in good press coverage. Further, she was a real trooper, continuing her tour despite a seriously bruised foot suffered in a motorcycle spill while vacationing at Lake Toba. Ed Vance Ness told the crowd that Lee-Alison personified the old stage adage "The show must go on!"