Personality profiles of members and co-workers of God's Church around the world.
Roger Bryant's voice has been compared to that of Luciano Pavarotti and the late Jussi Björling. He has sung with premiere soprano Beverly Sills and under such conductors as Kurt Adler, Robert Shaw and Louis Lane. Mr. Bryant is also a member of the Worldwide Church of God and, together with his wife Lyna Jane and their 6-month-old daughter Lauren, lives in Austin, Tex. Many Church members heard Mr. Bryant during the 1980 Feast of Tabernacles when he sang in the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, and also in the Tucson Music Hall, where he was accompanied by the Arizona Opera Orchestra. Mr. Bryant, only 31, has gained much recognition in the music field. In 1975, he was the second place winner in the San Francisco Opera Auditions, and also a finalist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago Auditions. His debut was with the Spring Opera of San Francisco in March, 1976, as a soloist in Bach's "St. Matthew's Passion." His appearances with the San Antonio Symphony Opera included the role of "Flavio" in Bellini's "Norma" with Beverly Sills in the title role. From childhood, Mr. Bryant has had an interest in music. Both his parents are musical. He sang in church choirs and high school choruses before going to Texas Christian University, where he received a bachelor of arts in voice performance and a master of arts in music education. Although he was encouraged to pursue a full-time musical career, he never had a strong desire for just performing. He was more interested in both singing and teaching. In 1975, Mr. Bryant came in contact with the Worldwide Church of God. He sent for literature and after three to four months of study began to attend Church services. He was baptized in June, 1976. Realizing he could not pursue a full-time singing career and still observe God's Sabbath, he chose the latter, and today both sings and teaches as assistant professor of voice at the University of Texas in Austin. As he was growing up, Mr. Bryant's parents always stressed the element of service to others, and he spent several years searching out the niche where he could best serve his fellowman. "My teaching career is an opportunity to set an example of the give way of life," he says. He also tries to show his students that creativity comes from God, and how it ties in with the spirit in man. A highlight of his musical career was two years ago during the Feast of Tabernacles in Savannah, Ga., when he conducted the Festival choir. He felt the choir's performance of the "Hallelujah Chorus" on the Last Great Day was a peak – an inspired moment. However, music is not the only thing in Mr. Bryant's life. "My family is very important," he says. He enjoys playing with his daughter, getting together with other people, reading and sports, especially golf. Last summer he played for the Austin church's soft ball team. One observation Mr. Bryant has made in his profession is that music has taken on an almost religious significance. Teachers often seem to think that art can take the place of religion and be almost a religious experience for some people. "Music is not a messiah," says Mr. Bryant, and he tries to counter this attitude in his teaching and example by showing that music can be used as an expression of our relationship to God. "I'm a down-to-earth person who doesn't take music so seriously that I can't enjoy it, to express joy, happiness and thanksgiving. My students enjoy that approach."