How does a poor black man from Fort Smith, Arkansas get to be a world traveler? For Walter Gregory Ahart it all began with the music--and his own God-given gift of voice.

How does a poor black man from Fort Smith, Arkansas get to be a world traveler? For Walter Gregory Ahart it all began with the music--and his own God-given gift of voice.

Ahart begins his story. “I studied music at the University of Arkansas to be a classical (operatic) vocalist. Upon graduation my professor invited me to study with him in Paris.”

Once in Europe a world of opportunity opened up. As he studied, he accepted performance opportunities. He met people and made connections. Eventually he had an agent who began booking performances in Paris and London, as well as places he had only read about--Abu Dhabi, Ethiopia, the Greek Isles and South Africa.

He recalls his time in Malta. “My agent sent me to Malta where I performed for several weeks. When it was time to get paid, I was told my money had been sent to my agent in London. Upon inquiry to my agent and more investigating I came to find out the whole gig was a scam.”

Somerset Maugham wrote of Malta, “It’s a sunny place for shady people.” Ahart had learned first hand the truth of Malta, Lacking the money to leave, Ahart set about looking for work. In time he met a sailor who had been commissioned to deliver a custom built ketch to Crete. He was offered a berth and set sail to the Greek Isles - embarking on an adventure that led him to performing at the palace of the Greek Prime Minister.

When he got the news of his father’s declining health, Ahart returned to the states. He was living in New York City when his dad passed away, but he had been able to return home to say his good-byes. He returned to New York and continued his singing career.

“I was four months out from an audition to sing in the choir for the Metropolitan Opera. One night while walking back to my Chelsea apartment, I was attacked. My attacker stabbed me 7 times with an ice pick. The stab wounds permanently damaged my phrenic nerve--the nerve to the diaphragm that controls the air intake. That ended my career in classical music. It takes a lot of air and diaphragm control to sing opera,” says Ahart. “This one incident changed the whole path of my musical career.”

Over time, Ahart returned to Fort Smith where he sings in his church choir and performs at public and private events. What does Ahart see on his career horizon? “Oh, I don’t know,” he says. “It will be a surprise. And an adventure.” Maybe not quite a surprise. He already has an idea for bringing the youth of the city together to create a better understanding of our city’s diverse cultures.

Ahart’s voice has soul and captivates his audience. His music will set your feet a moving--or your eyes welling. Walter Gregory Ahart is an artist. And he’s got the music in him.

To book this world class musician at your holiday event, call Ahart at 479 561-5109. You and your guests are in for a treat!


By Colleen Perry

 Location

BSavvy Magazine

Office:
PO Box 537
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Office Phone:
479-653-1221

 Contact

BSavvy Magazine

Colleen Perry

  (479) 653-1221

Colleen@bsavvymagazine.com

 Follow Us