May 8, 2012
Alicia Ucciferri ’14 Performs on Capitol Hill
Houghton College sophomore, Alicia Ucciferri ’14, was recently invited to sing at a congressional arts event in Washington, D.C. The invitation came as a result of Ucciferri’s outstanding submission to a Very Special Arts young soloists competition, a scholarship competition for performing artists with disabilities sponsored by the Kennedy Center. Although Ucciferri, who has a vision impairment, was not a winner in the competition, she was invited by the Kennedy Center to perform at two V.S.A. events from April 15-17.
“I was amazed at the importance and influence of art detailed by the speakers I heard, and I was made more confident in my own ability to glorify God through music with the amount of grace I’d been apportioned,” said Ucciferri, who was accompanied in her travels by Kelly Van Kirk ’12. “Having been called into missions, I was beginning to question its relevance to my future and its power to proclaim. But God reminded me through this event that art can truly be a means of conveying that which could never be said, whether because it is inexpressible otherwise or simply stifled.”
On Sunday, April 15, Ucciferri performed 12 minutes of music for an annual domestic V.S.A. event at the Hilton hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. On Tuesday, Ucciferri sang for a crowd of celebrities and congressional representatives in the Longworth House on Capitol Hill, where she received a standing ovation for her inspiring performance.
V.S.A. is an international organization that provides opportunities for artistic people with disabilities, and aims to increase their opportunities and change perceptions about their abilities to succeed in art. Earlier in the semester, Ucciferri produced a CD for her submission to the scholarship competition with the help of faculty Sharon Johnson and Kelly Hijleh. The CD included three videos of Ucciferri performing an English aria, an Italian aria, and a German art song.
V.S.A. was founded in 1974 by former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith. The V.S.A. is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.