Local singer reaches high note with award

Rosalinda Verde Alexander to receive Marjorie Brandon Award, named after the most inspiring and positive people in Tulare County

VISALIA – A multi-talented local artist will be honored with an award named after a local woman whose positivity is inspiring.

Rosalinda Verde Alexander
Founder of Visalia Opera Company, Creative Center play producer and local singer and performer.

Rosalinda Verde Alexander, well-known local singer, founder of the Visalia Opera Company and Creative Center play producer, will be presented with the Marjorie Brandon Award at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Brandon-Mitchell Gallery fundraiser and concert at the Center for Spiritual Living in Visalia, a space in downtown Visalia for boutique events. The Brandon-Mitchell Gallery has long hosted regular art shows, meditation, Tai Chi, classes and meetings and more recently has become a venue for intimate weddings, receptions, small events and conferences.

The award and the center are named after Marjorie Brandon a living testament to the staying power of positivity. Brandon, who turned 109 in September, is a long-time artist and teacher, and an icon in the local art world. After a 25-year teaching career in Visalia and the surrounding area, she turned to art and began creating collages. She led the creation of the Center for Spiritual Living, a place that welcomes all faiths and preaches about unity of all faiths in a single God living within each of us.

Alexander’s award is presented annually to a person who has a long history as an artist and also goes beyond the scope of his/her own art to benefit the community, as Marjorie has.

Alexander has been performing since the age of 3 when she asked her mother, “Mom, when are you going to put me on stage?” She was in pageants, talent shows and school musicals, but it was when she went away to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego that a professor suggested that with her big sultry voice she should study opera.

She had wanted to sing popular tunes by such artists as Gloria Estefan and Selena, but she soon became enamored of opera. She became so good at it that she was accepted into the prestigious San Diego Opera chorus on her first try, an unusual accomplishment.

She returned to her hometown determined to begin a Visalia Opera Company, which she did at age 25. She put on several “Taste of Opera performances with local performers (one which included Mozart coming out of his crypt to explain the music) and then produced “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Marriage of Figaro.”

In 2014 she wrote and produced her own mariachi opera “El Bracero” taking stories from her own family and friends telling the story of being a migrant worker in California. That opera has since been performed in several southern California locations and next year will be put on by Garfield High School in East L.A., the school made famous by the film “Stand and Deliver.”

Alexander has also produced numerous theater productions with her developmentally delayed adult students at the Creative Center, where she is the performing arts department head at the community arts center. She also sings with own band, People In the Moment (PIM), had a regular gig at Crawdaddy’s, has performed with the Sequoia Symphony, runs her own non-profit and produced the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event at the Visalia Cemetery on Nov. 1.

Following the award presentation, Alexander will perform a concert that includes music by Selena, mariachi and opera, and will show clips from many of the shows she has produced.

The concert is at 117 S. Locust, Visalia. Tickets are $25 on Eventbrite. Tables and a food truck will be set up behind the center at 6 p.m. for those who want to buy dinner before the show.

For more information: 559-625-2441 or, www.cslvisalia.org.events.

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