South Carolina native Richard C. Odom received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 2006. He recently earned two Master of Music degrees simultaneously in choral conducting and vocal performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
A child prodigy, Richard began playing the piano without any lessons at age three. He so impressed his parents that they hurried to purchase a piano and secure lessons for him. His appetite for music was heightened as he learned challenging classical pieces, which he merged with the intricacies of gospel music. He enticed his musical siblings and friends to sing along as he played and conducted. He landed his first job directing a children’s choir at age nine. And, by age eleven he secured his second tenure of employment, by age twelve he founded his first group, the J. Anderson Singers, and at age fifteen he became the founder and director the Voorhees College Gospel Chorale in his hometown of Denmark, SC, making him the youngest college choir director in the nation.
Always a pioneer, his accomplishments also include the distinction of being the Founding Director of the famed Tri-City Singers, a gospel music ensemble known internationally with roots in the Carolinas.
Richard is a diverse singer, musician, noted composer and conductor whose distinctions include receiving the Magnolia Lewis Butts Piano Scholarship Award, the Annual Waljo People’s Choice Award in singing, and he has won the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition sponsored by the National Association of Negro Business Women. Having served many ministries, he is currently Associate Minister of Music at the Reid Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
His gift for teaching reveals itself in many ways. For eighteen years he has been the clinician for the annual African American Sacred Music Festival in Orangeburg, SC, conducting a group of more than one hundred hand-selected high school students invited to attend. He directed the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Children’s Chorus in Dallas, TX. And recently, he joined the staff of the University of the District of Columbia where he excels in teaching conducting.
A background vocalist for Grammy Award winning R&B singer, Stephanie Mills, his voice can be heard on recordings of sacred and secular music as soloist and ensemble singer. He appeared with her on Broadway earlier this year. An instrumentalist, conductor and arranger, he has performed in recitals and concerts both nationally and internationally. From performing tenor solos in “Messiah” and the Opera “West Side Story” in the U.S., singing original gospel and traditional spirituals in Germany, conducting the opera, “Marriage of Figaro,” in Italy to performing Verdi’s “Defiant Requiem” in the Czech Republic, his mastery of music proves as prolific as it is diverse.
He recently performed vocally the major works of composer Joseph Haydn and Ludwig Van Beethoven as he participated in the 36th Annual Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria at the invitation of Artistic Director, Dr. Richard Zielinski. His trip was chronicled in the DC Performing Arts Examiner.
Richard’s vocal pedagogy philosophy is “you sing like you think.” With nearly forty years experience in music ministry, Richard has proven himself to be a big thinker. He is concurrently composing music for a gospel music CD and editing a book that he expects to publish soon. He aims to continue consulting, teaching workshops, seminars and conferences in excellence to build and improve music performance, bridging gaps with the language of music, which is understood universally.