HARRIETT CHRISTIAN HODGE, Contralto, born in Seattle, WA, but grew up in Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL began performing as vocal soloist and choral conductor at the early age of two. She appeared in piano, vocal competitions and recitals by the time she was ten. Harriett graduated from Central High School, with honors at fourteen. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in voice and piano at Southern University & A.& M. College, Baton Rouge, LA.
While in school, Harriett sang in many concerts in cities throughout the United States, the Bahamas, Jamaica, London and Canada, B.C. She often performed solos preceding speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his mentor, Dr. Benjamin Mays, President Lyndon Johnson, and others. President Johnson referred to her as the “next Marian Anderson”. Composers Jester Hairston and Alan Hovaness wrote special contralto solos to showcase her beautiful voice.
After returning to Seattle, Harriett married and raised four children. She taught for twenty-four years in Seattle Public Schools and performed fourteen years with Seattle Opera Chorus, appeared in principal roles in several operas and as Schwertleite in Wagner’s “Die Walkurie”. Harriett was a member and soloist with the Leonard Moore Chorale, singing alto solos in Handel’s Messiah, many masses and cantatas as well as soloist with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. She was a cash award winner in the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera auditions.
During the summers, Harriett continued to travel, performing roles with Houston Opera, Monisha in Joplin’s Treemonisha, Serena in Porgy & Bess by Gershwin at Carnegie Hall in New York and Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with the San Francisco Opera.
With continuous study, Harriett completed her Master’s degree in Music Education at Indiana University, Bloomington, IA and a Master’s of Musical Arts at the University of WA, student of Leon Lishner in Seattle where she was highly recognized for her role of Meg Page in Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor. She did graduate study at the Manhattan School of Music, New York, where she appeared in operatic scenes, and while in New York also performed Broadway Musicals. She was coached by Simon Estes at Julliard School of Music to audition in London, England, The Guildhall School of Music where she performed and won cash awards.
Soon after returning to Seattle she returned to teaching music at Ingraham High school and entered the Doctoral of Music program at U.W. Harriett’s studies were interrupted by a debilitating back injury. However, the injury did not stop her determination to pursue a music career. While recovering, she opened her private school of music and publishing in her home: Chrish Classic Music, where she teaches voice, piano and guitar lessons. She has arranged prayers, anthems and special occasion songs and compiled a Music, Vocabulary Building, & Game Workbook. Harriett’s goal is to mold future musicians. Prior to the accident, Harriett had not written or composed. The music and books she now publishes reveal another great gift. During this time, she released a CD, trained students that have become professional vocalists and pianists, in addition to presenting annual recitals. She resumed her studies and presently is coaching with former teacher, Marianne Weltman.