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Chorus Member Profile



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Beth Roberts


15-Year Chorus Member: Beth Roberts

When Beth Roberts picked up the violin in elementary school, she already had a well-tuned ear. In fact, she was able to adjust her fingering to better match pitch, which to her extreme embarrassment was recognized and praised by her conductor in front of the elementary school orchestra class in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. From a young age, Beth was involved in her church’s choir and took piano lessons, learning to read music around the same time she learned to read English.

With such a great musical preparation in her youth, Beth naturally succeeded in math, science, and engineering – particularly in advanced, conceptual subjects like algebra and chemistry. And while music has continued to be a consistent part of Beth’s life, she eventually put her skills to work in a food science career. She earned her college degree from South Dakota State University, and after several years of work, decided to return to school to advance her career. In 2019, Beth earned her Master’s degree from the University of Illinois – a program that was almost entirely done online. At the insistence of her dear sister, Beth attended the graduation ceremony to accept her degree in person, pictured here.

These days, you can find her working in the lab at WILD Flavors in Erlanger, Kentucky, designing new products and flexing her mental muscles in beverage technology. In other words, she develops ingredient systems for products with abstract flavors like “unicorn,” figures out how to make food shelf-stable without preservatives, and understands how to make ingredients like ashwagandha taste good.

Food Science is what brought Beth to the Cincinnati area, after her first post-graduate position in St. Louis. After two years in Florence, KY, she settled into the Wallace Woods neighborhood of Covington, right along the Licking River, into a “cute as heck” Arts-and-Crafts-meets-Victorian style house. Two weeks after she moved to the area, Beth took her first trip into the Queen City to audition for the May Festival Chorus. Fifteen years later, we are celebrating her 15th Anniversary of singing with us!

Over the years, Beth’s time with the May Festival has been full of memorable moments, but one in particular stands out among the rest. In 2014, the Chorus travelled to New York City to perform a concert including Nathaniel Dett’s “The Ordering of Moses” at Carnegie Hall, and her parents were beaming with pride. Although they couldn’t make the trip from South Dakota to hear her in person, Beth’s father, who ardently supported her early music education, got out all of his audio equipment and set up their Sioux Falls living room for the best possible listening experience. He and her mother popped some popcorn and sat down to listen to their daughter perform as a first soprano in the national live broadcast from Carnegie Hall. The memory makes Beth so happy it still brings a tear to her eye.

When she’s not singing with the May Festival or stirring up a new drink in the lab, Beth can be found knitting anything from sweaters for herself to stuffed animals for her niece or nephew. (Ask her about the tarantula, if you get a chance.) You may also find her out with her beloved dogs, the energetic terrier Millie and the distinguished mini-dachshund Sadie, who is likely being carried.

Join us in wishing Beth a Happy 15th Anniversary of singing with the May Festival! Get to know her a little better by listening to her favorite tunes on Spotify, or hear her perform in the 2021 May Festival through a digital performance available here.