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Gold Company alumni enjoy national visibility

Feb. 12, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Alumni of Western Michigan University's acclaimed Gold Company vocal jazz program are enjoying a high level of national visibility this month, with appearances on "American Idol" and the 2009 Grammy awards telecast.

Tenor Matt Giraud was selected during an audition in Louisville, Ky., for one of 147 "golden tickets" to compete in a Hollywood round. The auditions in Louisville were among similar events held around the nation and were showcased on "American Idol" Jan. 21. Giraud went on to survive the first competitive round in Hollywood last week, with a group audition that sent all four members of his group forward for consideration as part of the top-36 singers in the show's eighth competition. It was announced Feb. 11 that Giraud will fill one of this season's coveted slots.

Giraud, who grew up in Ypsilanti, graduated from WMU in 2007 and performed with GC II for two years--2003-04 and 2005-06. He is a Kalamazoo resident who performs regularly as a pianist and vocalist at Monnaco Bay and Zazio's in downtown Kalamazoo.

Meanwhile recent WMU and Gold Company alumna Nayanna Holley was heard on the Feb. 8 telecast of the 51st Grammy Awards, with a group of backup singers performing a Four Tops medley as part of a segment of the show featuring a lifetime achievement award presented to that Motown group. Soprano Holley, a Los Angeles native, was a four-year member of Gold Company before graduating in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in music. While at WMU, she performed in Europe and at the Lincoln Center in New York as part of a smaller ensemble, the Gold Company Sextet.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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