Donna Hinds Sawyers, BM, MM
Donna Hinds Sawyers serves on the voice faculty in the Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. She is co-founder and co-director of Studio Bella Voce, teaching both Classical and CCM (Contemporary Commercial Music) techniques. Specialties include opera, crossover technique and audition coaching.
Donna, in partnership with Laurie Lee Cosby, has authored a book entitled A Most Rewarding Independent Music Studio. Published by Inside View Press. Using a workbook format, the book is designed for application to any type studio business.
Ms. Hinds Sawyers holds a Bachelor of Music, Music Education emphasis, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from The University of Houston. She served apprenticeships with University of Houston Opera Studio under the direction of Buck Ross, and Aspen Opera Theatre directed by Edward Berkeley. She pursued studies in vocal pedagogy, mentored by Elisabeth Howard, creator of the Vocal Power Method and international clinician. Ms. Hinds Sawyers studied voice with W. Stephen Smith, Richard Barrett and Michael Trimble. Vocal coaches include Arlene Shrutt, Gary Arvin, and Kenneth Merrill. Other studies include art song with Paul Sperry, Lieder with Elena Nikolaidi and contemporary opera with Carlisle Floyd.
Ms. Hinds Sawyers is a well-known performer, teacher and music director in the Houston area. She is a frequent adjudicator and clinician for choral, musical theatre and classical vocal events. She served on the music faculty of Lone Star
College for twenty-one years, teaching voice studies, music academics, and musical theatre. Ms. Hinds Sawyers spent four years in the country music arena, serving as studio coach at Fireside Studio in Nashville, TN.
Favorite opera roles performed include Mimi in La Boheme, The Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Alcina in Alcina, Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Susanna in Il Segreto do Susanna, and Miss Jessel in The Turn of The Screw. Stage roles include Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa, Annelle in Steel Magnolias, and Rootie in Graceland. She has appeared as soprano soloist in concert and oratorio productions including The Creation, Messiah, Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, and Bach’s Magnificat.
Theatre credits include music direction/conducting of Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Pippin, Little Shop of Horrors, The Fantasticks, Godspell, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Robber Bridegroom, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, and Fifty Years of Broadway Revue.
Recognitions include Academic Teaching Excellence Award, Lone Star College, and Kennedy Center Performance Award, American College Theatre Festival. Ms. Hinds Sawyers is certified in CCM methods Vocal Power, with Elisabeth Howard and Somatic Voicework TM with Jeanette LoVetri. She holds the Texas All Level Certification in Music. She is an active member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) having been a presenter at the NATS National Conference in Nashville, and a board member of the Greater NATS Chapter.
“Donna Hinds has helped me to shape my musical philosophy in both performance and teaching. She taught me how to approach music without lyrics as a vocalist, how to evoke images and emotion through visualization. Donna is also a consummate performer – I have had the pleasure of performing in recital with her on a couple of occasions. She actually demonstrates very naturally the same concepts that she teaches to her students. Ms. Hinds has taken the time to study not only her craft, but how to pass it on to her students in a most clear and concise manner. What more could one ask from a teacher!”
Dr. Woody Witt
Professor of Music, Houston Community College
Affiliate Artist, University of Houston Moores School of Music
International recording and performing artist, having shared the stage with such great musicians as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Kenny Rogers, The Four Tops as well as jazz artists including 2 time Grammy Winner Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell, James Moody and many others.
“Donna Hinds is a dedicated singer with the best interest of the student in mind. She is a gifted and beautiful soprano who understands the mechanics of good singing, and she imparts a good vocal foundation on all her singing students, whether they be young, old, advanced or beginner. I would recommend her highly as a teacher of singing.”
Todd Miller, D.M.A.
Professor of Music/Lead Music Faculty
Kingwood College, Kingwood, TX
“Donna is an admired colleague for whom I have the greatest respect. Her knowledge of vocal technique, her creative ideas which provide growing experiences and promotional opportunities for singers, and her energetic, warm, and generous personality add up to an ideal voice teacher.”
Wade Hescht, Department Chair of Drama and Speech
North Harris College, Houston, TX