Watch Parties Planned for Southeast Alum’s Aug. 26 Appearance On ‘America’s Got Talent’


Photo of Neal Boyd

Southeast alumnus Neal E. Boyd ’01 is scheduled to appear live on the NBC series “America’s Got Talent” on Aug. 26. 

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 18, 2008 — The Southeast Missouri State University community will be glued to their television sets Tuesday, Aug. 26, as Southeast Missouri State University alumnus, Neal E. Boyd ’01, is scheduled to appear live on the NBC series “America’s Got Talent.”

As the final contestant of the two-hour premier episode of the show, Boyd wowed the judges with his performance of “Nessun Dorma,” an operatic song which was popularized by Luciano Pavarotti. 

Poster, flyers and messages have gone out to the Southeast community urging students, faculty, staff and alumni to watch the show and vote for Boyd.  Campus watch parties are planned throughout the campus, including on various residence hall floors and at the Student Recreation Center-North. 

A community-wide watch party is planned for the University Center where viewers will be provided with refreshments and computers will be available for voting for Boyd online. “America’s Got Talent” will air from 7 to 9 p.m. Central time on Aug. 26.

The Aug. 26 live show will be the first airing of the series after its Olympic hiatus. The reality show will invite viewers to call in or vote online to determine whether or not Boyd will win the $1 million prize and a shot at his own Las Vegas show. For more information on “America’s Got Talent,” visit

After appearing on the premier show, Boyd was chosen by the “America’s Got Talent” judges to perform at the next round in Las Vegas, Nev., where the Southeast alum performed an opera version of “Unchained Melody.”  After that performance, the contestants were narrowed to a field of 40 to appear on the live telecast.

Boyd’s voice has been described as one of great beauty, fairly large with a sweet lyrical quality.  His vocal talent first gained major attention in 2000 when he became the national Young Artist vocal champion. In 2001, he sang the “National Anthem” and the Southeast Missouri State Alma Mater at Southeast Night at Busch Stadium. Boyd later went on to perform at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., among many other great venues.

A lyric tenor, Boyd holds undergraduate degrees from both Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia. At Southeast, he was a speech communication major with minors in music and political science. He is a former student of Dr. Christopher Goeke, Southeast professor of music.

At Southeast, he was a frequent soloist for the University Choir and performed many lead roles with the Opera All-Stars. Those roles included scenes as “Alfredo” in Verdi’s “La Traviata,” “Nemorino” in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’amore” and “The Duke” in Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Other collegiate performances included roles as “Ferrando” in Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutti,” “Eisenstein” in “Die Fledermaus” and “The Negro” in “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd.” He performed numerous roles with the University of Missouri’s Show-Me Opera scenes program, including “Fenton” in Verdi’s “Falstaff,” and “Lennie” in Floyd’s “Of Mice and Men.”

Along with his academic and musical activities at Southeast, Boyd also was very active in Student Government, serving as vice president one year. He also was an active fraternity member in Lambda Chi Alpha and was a member of the Interfraternity Council, the Residence Hall Association, University Choir and Student Activities Council. Boyd also served as a Presidential Ambassador and as a Southeast intern in the Missouri House of Representatives.

In 1999, Boyd transferred to the University of Missouri-Columbia (UMC) to take advantage of instruction by Associate Professor Ann Harrell in the UMC Department of Music, while, at the same time, completing requirements for his degree at Southeast. At the University of Missouri-Columbia, he earned a bachelor of arts degree in music and performed with the University of Missouri Singers.

Boyd is the winner of the 2000 National Collegiate Artist Voice Competition of the Music Teachers National Association. He was a frequent winner at the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, a guest soloist for the 2001 Missouri All-State Choir and a member of the 1996 Missouri All-Collegiate Choir.  He is known for his solo performances throughout Missouri and was honored to sing a solo at the memorial service for the late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan.

Boyd, who is referred to as “The Voice of Missouri,” is a Sikeston, Mo., native now living in St. Louis and working as an insurance salesman. His love for opera began during his childhood and has continuously grown throughout his life. For more information on Boyd, visit