Joyfully Raising her Voice unto the Lord, Priscilla Salisbury Earns Masters in Sacred Music
Professional opera singer Priscilla Salisbury performs in operas all over the country. Recently she sang the role of Casilda from “The Gondoliers” by Gilbert & Sullivan at Winter Opera St. Louis. Salisbury has also had premier roles in Seattle and Houston and had set her sights on a New York performance when the COVID-19 pandemic derailed those plans. With theatres closing, she returned home to Houston to be near her close-knit family.
Born in Monterrey, México, Salisbury moved to the states at the end of fifth grade. She attended Jersey Village High School, University of Houston to earn a Bachelor’s of Music: Vocal Performance, then went on to earn a Master's in Opera Performance from the University of Texas in 2016.
While back in Houston, Salisbury picked up the phone and called Dr. Brady Knapp, chair of the Music Program at UST, to ask about the Master in Sacred Music degree. Since her teenage years, Salisbury had been very involved with the Catholic Church as a musician. In her young adulthood, she has held several music director positions in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
"When I learned about the MSM program, it caught my attention," Salisbury said. "I'm drawn to early music, chamber and oratorio works and wanted to explore that singing style. I thought they go hand-in-hand, so why not utilize the time in quarantine to go back to school?"
Now, completing the MSM degree in May and walking across the stage at UST's Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. at NRG Stadium, Salisbury's want to continue opera performances and her work in sacred music.
"I cantor throughout the Archdiocese," she said. "I rotate between St. Bartholomew, Prince of Peace, St. Cecilia and St. Vincent DePaul Parishes. I want to work at the archdiocesan level alongside the Director of Music, Dr. Rick Lopez. My goal is to create workshops for people in the Spanish community who need a lot of musical direction.
Salisbury praises the UST graduate music program and says it is exceptional for the level of education and the quality of the professors. "Dr. Knapp is an inspiring mentor! My musicianship skills and singing technique continue to develop under his guidance," she said. "He pushes me to reach new unimaginable goals. Dr. Knapp recently encouraged me to participate in the Houston National Association of Teachers of Singing competition. I was delighted that I did because I won in my division. I sang Canción de Ruiseñor from ‘Doña Francisquita’ by Vives.”
Knapp sings Salisbury's praises too. “Priscilla Salisbury is a very gifted musician and a gracious and generous human being,” Knapp said. “She has been asset to the Music Program. She has thrived while in the UST MSM program, my voice studio, UST opera, and as a featured soloist for concerts and many donor events. The sky is the limit, with Priscilla’s diverse interests in church music, oratorio and opera, and studio voice teaching. It is wonderful to imagine so many possibilities for this extraordinary young lady.”
Salisbury is now contemplating doctoral programs in voice performance, and will continue to sing in operatic venues. She has been encouraged by Dr. Knapp and the faculty to consider doctoral studies.
She will serve as cantor on Friday May 13th for UST’s Baccalaureate Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.”
She is also looking forward to the Commencement Ceremony.
“I am looking forward to our commencement speech given by world-renowned soprano, Ana María Martínez. She's an inspiration to the Latino community!" Salisbury said.