That Voice: In Search of Ann Drummond-Grant, the Singer Who Shaped My Life

She Writes. Jun. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9781647426620. pap. $17.95. BIOG
In this absorbing memoir, Menter (Office Sutras: Exercises for Your Soul at Work) recounts her sometimes awkward and often droll coming-of-age journey. Finding refuge and comfort in recordings of the famed D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, she learned about the group’s Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire, its structural organization, and its history. She also delved deeply into the musical roles and background of the company’s contralto Ann Drummond-Grant (1905–59), whose stunning performances on those recordings prompted Menter to pursue a singing career. Menter expertly interweaves her story with Drummond-Grant’s, from which she drew continual insight and strength. Menter’s experiences—from her early days through college and conservatory—are infused with poignant honesty, offering a glimpse into the quirky culture of musical studies and artistic realms. She realized that performing isn’t in her heart, but she pays tribute to Drummond-Grant’s life and work, nonetheless, and its profound influence on her journey to self-discovery as a writer.
VERDICT This witty, resonant, beautifully written book will appeal to many, especially readers with musical or artistic aspirations, grappling with understanding who they are and what they are meant to do professionally.
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