East Penn Press

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ROBERT CORT PHOTOGRAPHYLynnie Godfrey performing in “Jazz Upstairs” series at Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ROBERT CORT PHOTOGRAPHYLynnie Godfrey performing in “Jazz Upstairs” series at Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Lynnie Godfrey wants to share her expertise, inspire children to sing

Thursday, February 15, 2018 by MAKENNA MASENHEIMER Special to The Press in Focus

Stage and screen veteran Lynnie Godfrey is looking for a few good friends, young friends, to accompany her in a holiday concert.

Godfrey is holding vocal auditions 1 - 4:30 p.m. Feb. 24, St. John’s Lutheran Evangelical Church, 37 S. Fifth St., Allentown, for kindergarten through fifth grade students in Allentown School District to perform with her in a December holiday concert at the church.

The Broadway actress and lauded vocalist seeks to provide a community music education program that will culminate in a professional caliber performance. In 2016, Godfrey presented a successful solo show at Miller Symphony Hall backed by the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.

Godfrey was inspired to pursue her latest endeavor after successfully distributing musical resources to children in Bethlehem Area School District while on the board of The Friends of Music, Bethlehem, where she was recently installed as president.

Now she hopes to expand her reach to Allentown School District with a free after-school program for 10 to 15 elementary students consisting of two rehearsals a month. Free meals will be provided at rehearsals.

“I want kindergarten to the fifth grade because those are the children who are in a point in time in their life that you can really formulate their thoughts, their habits, their discipline ... all of those things,” says Godfrey.

“I have to make sure that they’re safe, that they’re in a healthy environment, that they benefit from all that is going in. And in this age where children are abused so badly we want to protect them as much as we possible can.

“I want not the very gifted or the very troubled. I want children in the middle who never get anything. That child might not have a great voice, but they may have the enthusiasm, they may want to belong to something, they may want to learn about something. It’s the good student that I want.”

Students are asked to sing a favorite song, hymn or anthem at the audition. If a student brings sheet music, a pianist will be provided. A cappella singing will also be allowed.

Music and the arts played a tremendous role in Godfrey’s life when she was a child.

“I remember being an angel in Christmas pageants. It’s a great memory. Every child should just be able to experience something like that,” says Godfrey.

“The first play I ever saw was James Earl Jones in ‘The Great White Hope.’ He heard that we were going to be there and after that strenuous matinee he sat and talked with us for 20 minutes. I remember everything he said.”

Years later, at the Emmy Awards Governor’s Ball, Godfrey was seated near Jones and had the opportunity to thank him for his impact on her.

Godfrey has made more than 30 guest appearances on network television and had a recurring role on “Amen” and “Brewster Place” and in “704 Hauser,” Norman Lear’s sequel to “All in the Family.”

Her film work includes appearing opposite Kathleen Turner in “V.I. Warshawski.”

Godfrey received a Drama Desk nomination for her Broadway debut in “Eubie!.” Her stage credits include the New York and the London West End productions of “Snow Queen,” in which Godfrey performed the title role.

Students will have the chance to work with guest artists with Broadway, TV and film experience.

“I’m coercing all of my friends to come over here and help me teach poise and they can tell stories about being in the theater,” Godfrey says.

She hopes to imbue the children she teaches with a love for and appreciation of music. Godfrey emphasizes that a classical foundation is necessary for success in other music genres.

“Music is a wonderful vehicle to communicate to people, whatever language [they speak]. The stories that I get to tell in songs allow me to be the actress that I’ve trained to be. It’s just a wonderful gift that God has given me,” says Godfrey.

She’s excited to share that gift with the children of Allentown.

Information: Students can sign up for an audition time and direct any questions to Godfrey at goleeentertain@aol.com.