CMHP Honors Hope Foye with Lifetime Achievement Award
In 2009, the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals (CMHP) honored Hope Foye with a Lifetime Achievement Award. One of many in Foye’s amazing lifetime.
According to the CMHP official press release:
Hope Foye is a critically acclaimed soprano vocalist, classically trained with substantial international credits in the areas of opera, philharmonic concerts, folk, jazz, musical standards and religious spirituals. Born into extremely humble beginnings in Connecticut in 1921, Hope’s voice and tenacious spirit propelled her from Connecticut to New York to Mexico, to Switzerland, Israel, Germany and back to the United States. Hope fluently speaks, reads and writes English, Spanish and German as well as performs in Italian, French, Portuguese and two indigenous languages of Mexico. She has been the recipient of three Rockefeller Grants to study music abroad. Literally, volumes of newspaper articles have been written about Hope’s talents, relating her almost ‘extra human abilities’ from performances in Mexico, Europe, Israel and the United States.
Hope Foye was raised by foster parents in an area referred to as Railroad Alley. Their circumstances were so dire that as an elementary age child, one of Hope’s chores was to walk along the train tracks with a bucket and gather the coal that had bounced out of the cargo railroad cars. This discarded coal that Hope collected was what the family used to heat their residence. As a teenager in Connecticut, one of Hope’s public school chorus teachers noticed Hope’s exceptional voice. This teacher introduced Hope to the Hadassah group that wound up sponsoring Hope’s initial vocal training at the Heart School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. Due to this training Hope was featured at numerous local concert halls and on local radio programs. Soon it became obvious that Hope Foye’s voice was destined to go beyond Hartford, Connecticut.
In the 1940s, in the music community of New York City, Hope was identified and groomed to become THE Black vocaalist to integrate into Metropolitan Opera. This was no small fete. Certainly Hope had a natural gift, a talented voice but it took years of training to arrive at that point. However, on the appointed day, the representative from the Met refused to even acknowledge Hope despite her undeniably talented voice. It became clear that America’s most prestigious opera house was not going to integrate at that moment in time. Hope had to use her talent in other venues. She performed on and off Broadway and sang at New York’s famous clubs such as Cafe Society and the Village Vanguard. However, Hope was classically trained and wanted to perform in that classical genre which was denied to her.
Hope joined the Peoples Artists in New York. This progressive minded organization included such famous names as Paul Robeson whom Hope performed on the same stage with numerous times, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Shirley Graham, Pete Seegar and more. Paul Robeson performed at Madison Square Garden with Hope in front of an audience of 25,000, in order to earn funds for Hope to sail to Germany and participate in an International Youth Festival Music Competition.
Hope won second place in that international music competition. However, because the competition was held in East Berlin during the McCarthy Era, Hope was called before the McCarran Senate Committee. After this senatorial incident, Hope’s U.S. passport was rendered invalid and more doors were closed to Hope Foye as a performer. Shirley Graham and some others in the Peoples Artists, suggested that Hope might have a more fulfilling career in Mexico where there was a growing ex-patriot community of actors, entertainers and artists that were suffering here due to the atmosphere created during the McCarthy Era. At that time a U.S . passport was not needed to travel between the U.S. and Mexico. Hope moved to Mexico where she had a thriving career for 10 years.