Soulful Symphony composer teams up with American Idol winner Ruben Studdard

BALTIMORE - What happens when a world-renown symphony conductor from Baltimore teams up with world-renown American Idol winner Ruben Studdard? A collaboration that promises a special future.

The two only knew each other for three months before taking the stage together in Baltimore. They quickly found out they have a lot in common from their education to their faith. 

“We met [and it was] instant chemistry. We talked about the songs and then here we are,” said Darin Atwater, composer of Baltimore’s Soulful Symphony Orchestra.

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Studdard and Atwater, both graduates of Historically Black Colleges, showcased their talents together on stage at the France Merrick Performing Arts Center Saturday.

“I’m glad to be here to be a part of that and to pay tribute to Luther Vandross—my mom’s favorite singer,” Studdard said of the show.

For both men, the pressures of show business and life in general, can be overwhelming, they admitted. But their deep rooted faith helps them keep things in perspective, they said.

“My walk, with the Lord, has most definitely gotten me though a lot of difficult times but it’s also taught me the importance of forgiveness in those hard times because we’ve been forgiven of so many things that we’ve done,” Studdard said.

Atwater added, “For the African-American community, that’s the centerpiece of our community. Everything that we do rests on our faith. For us to try to divorce ourselves from that faith, that’s tragic.”