Saturday, September 18, 2021

Music student featured in Lion King

For some, the circle of life can make dreams come true. This is certainly true for Germaine Wilson, a former Plattsburgh State student.

Wilson was a music major before she auditioned and received the role of Shenzi, one of the three hyenas, in an official Disney production of “The Lion King” in Hamburg, Germany. She was one of three cast members chosen out of 200 to portray the role.

She received a leave of absence so that she could pursue this opportunity, and when she is done, she may return to Plattsburgh State to continue her studies.

The audition took place last November in her home nation of Trinidad, according to an article by alumni Matt McDonald, on PSUC’s website. She began rehearsals in May, and her contract runs until fall 2015.

“Trinidad is a rich source for vocal artists overall,” said Jacqueline Vogl, assistant vice president for global education at PSUC.

“This is a big leap for me,” Wilson said in an interview with McDonald. “I never expected it to happen, never dreamed it would happen. I just said, ‘Oh, yeah, sure, I guess I’ll go to the audition.’ And now, here I am.”

In her time as a student here, she worked closely with PSUC Associate Professor of Music Jo Ellen Miano.

Originally, the two met at a choral, vocal and piano festival in Trinidad that was the result of a partnership between PSUC and the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

Miano said Wilson has a professional drive, which will take her to new opportunities.

As for the decision to live in Germany, Miano advised her to take the chance because such opportunities do not happen all the time.

Sally Urban, senior career counselor at the Career Development Center worked with Wilson at PSUC.

“Germaine is such a dynamic personality. She is able to transform her style to be effective in different genres: gospel, R&B, Broadway,” she said. “That’s what makes her unique. It is good to diversify across different genres of music.”

Urban said Wilson is listed on the official program as Shenzi, but she is an understudy, as is the common practice in musical theater.

Wilson will likely be taken out of understudy status when she gets a finer grasp of the German language and culture.

Wilson played several roles in Trinidad before coming to Plattsburgh, according to McDonald, two of which were the Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland,” and Mother Superior in “The Sound of Music.”

For those who may have similar aspirations, both Miano and Urban advise to perform as much as possible to gain optimum exposure, and studying abroad, as Wilson did, is a great first step.

“Keep your ears open for those opportunities,” Miano said. “It might mean an internship, or a chance to study abroad. Explore it with your academic adviser. It might be scary to take new opportunities, but it’s well worth it.”

Email Tim Lyman at

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