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The voice squad

Mother-daughter singers have fought through health problems to perform together in chorale.

December 08, 2007|By Joyce Rudolph

A mother and daughter have found a healing experience singing with the Burbank Chorale.

Jenna Mathioudakis always sang in school choir programs while growing up in Burbank and started performing with the Bronx Opera Company in New York in 1999. But in 2001, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, ending her stint with the company and bringing her back home, said her mother, Dorothy Mathious.

Since going into remission in 2003, Mathioudakis began vocalizing and little by little started getting her voice back, she said.

In 2005, the mother and daughter auditioned and joined the Burbank Chorale and have been performing with the group ever since.

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For the chorale’s upcoming concert, they said they have a lot to celebrate as Mathioudakis’ Nov. 28 MRI was tumor-free, her mom said.

“We want to inspire other people when they are stricken with an illness not to give up hope, Mathious said.

The duo share a love of singing.

Mathious was a voice major at Eastern Illinois University and has sang roles with the Lyric Opera House in Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

While her daughter was ill, all their time was focused on her recovery. But joining the Burbank Chorale has given them a chance to perform again.

“Here we are singing, and we’re healing,” Mathious said.

Last spring, they went with the chorale for a special performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. It was a triumph, she said, because the last time they had been in New York it was a somber experience.

“This time, it was a wonderful memory for us,” Mathious said.

Singing at Carnegie Hall was a dream come true for Mathioudakis, who had never gotten the opportunity while living there.

“I couldn’t believe we were going to sing in Carnegie Hall,” she said. “It was an exquisite experience to sing there.”

The chorale has been a healing experience for Mathioudakis. After her diagnosis, she was going through depression, she said, but a therapist told her she would heal through music and singing.

“I was so happy to hear that,” she said.

“I was told I might not get my voice back. To hear her say I will heal myself, that gave me a lot of hope.”

After she was in remission, she started vocalizing, and when she felt she was ready, she auditioned for Burbank Chorale musical director Misha Shtangrud.

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