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Hopkins Grad Backs Up Josh Groban

Ryan Townsend Strand was in the pop star’s backup chorus at a Saturday concert.

Singers in the backup chorus at Saturday's Josh Groban concert pose for a photo. Ryan Townsend Strand is standing on the left side, second from the back, with his hands on the rail.
Singers in the backup chorus at Saturday's Josh Groban concert pose for a photo. Ryan Townsend Strand is standing on the left side, second from the back, with his hands on the rail.

Ryan Townsend Strand is no stranger to performing. The 2008 Hopkins High School grad raised enough money on Kickstarter to produce a CD of music a friend at California Lutheran University composed for his senior recital. On Saturday, though, he got a whole new look at performing when he sang with pop star Josh Groban at Ravinia Festival 2013 in Highland Park, IL.  

Strand, who’s getting his graduate degree in voice and opera at Northwestern University, was one of two students at the university to sing in Groban’s backup chorus. The chorus sang with Groban on “You Raise Me Up,” “Brave” and “I Believe.”

“The concert was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, from kicking off the concert as part of a quartet in Josh's song, “Brave,” to performing in front of a sold out crowd of over 15,000,” Strand told Patch via e-mail. “The energy was palpable as we walked out onstage for each of the three numbers that the 16 backup vocalists were a part of. I definitely got a taste for what the schedule and demands are for an artist on tour.”

The video above shows the last two songs that Strand sang on. He’s standing second from the right in the back row.

Click here to visit Strand’s Facebook page and keep track of his career.


Andrea L. August 14, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Congrats, Ryan!
janieundis523 August 14, 2013 at 11:35 AM
That is so awesome Ryan! Josh Groban is one of my favorite singers! I can remember listening to your gorgeous voice at our house, at choir concerts, and musicals. Good luck to you!

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