A Neal Boyd timeline

Monday, June 30, 2008

Neal Boyd's life has been marked by significant events, successes and setbacks. Here, a document of some of them:

November 1975

Neal Boyd was born to mother Esther Boyd in Sikeston, Mo. Esther would raise her son Neal and his older brother Michael as a single mother.

May 1994

Neal Boyd graduates Sikeston High School after winning awards as a high school choir student and becoming high school class president.

November 1994

Boyd wins his first college singing award as a freshman at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau — a second place in the College Men Lower Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Missouri Student Auditions.

While at Southeast Boyd studied voice under Dr. Chris Goeke, now head of the music department.

August 1999

Boyd transfers to the University of Missouri-Columbia to continue his vocal studies under teacher Ann Harrell.

June 2000

Boyd takes first place in the National Collegiate Artist Voice Competition of the Music Teachers National Association in Minneapolis, Minn. Boyd took first place with a 40-minute, 12 song performance.

October 2000

Boyd sings a solo at the memorial service for former Missouri governor Mel Carnahan, who was killed earlier that month in a plane crash while campaigning for the U.S. Senate. While in college, Boyd interned at the Capitol in Jefferson City.


Boyd graduates from both Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

March 2001

Boyd makes his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City, something former voice teacher Goeke calls a significant event in the career of any singer hoping for a career in music.

June 2001

Boyd sings The National Anthem at a St. Louis Cardinals home game.


Boyd spends a year teaching music appreciation as an assistant director of three vocal ensembles in the Sikeston public school system.

June 2002

Boyd begins a graduate program at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. It was during his studies that the tenor would be temporarily sidelined with a vocal infection that threatened to end his singing career.

May 2003

Boyd portrays York, William Clark's slave during the famous exploration of the American west, in the musical "Corps of Discovery" while at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The play was commissioned by the university to celebrate the Lewis and Clark expedition's bicentennial.

As Clark, Boyd brought down the house with an aria at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

August 2003

A few Sikeston residents organize a concert at which Boyd performs to raise money for his upcoming stint at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

January 2005

Boyd sings The National Anthem at the inauguration of Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt.

June 2008

Boyd sings Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" before a national audience on the first episode of season three of NBC's talent competition show "America's Got Talent." The show's three judges and host Jerry Springer praised Boyd's ability and the producers made his story and performance the climax of the two-hour show.

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