As many of you know, it is a difficult and equal parts exciting and terrifying transition to go from academia into the professional world, in any field, but especially music. Hearing of recent closures of American opera companies and even current companies restricting their seasons strikes fear into the hearts of any young singer trying to make their way in this crazy business. However, as the famous quote says, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet,” so I have been trying to do everything that I can to prepare for that opportunity.
I have been very lucky to have been able to continue performing this year, here in Houston, no matter how large or small the venue or audience. I made my professional debut with Opera in the Heights in their production of Don Giovanni as Masetto this past January. I cannot express to you the joy I felt being able to wake up every morning during that process and know that I get to spend my day doing the thing that I love the most. This wonderful opportunity granted to me by Enrique Carreón-Robledo and his staff rejuvenated my desire to continue pursuing performing, as, at that point, I had yet to hear any positive news from auditions that had taken place in December.
However, one morning in March, completely out of the blue, I received an email from Virginia Opera. I had received a callback for their program back in December and then…radio silence. I assumed, as had happened in many other cases, that I would eventually receive a rejection letter and maybe that I would audition for them again the next year. Expecting this type of letter, I opened the email to discover that they were congratulating me on being accepted into their Emerging Artist Program for the year of 2014-2015, with potential for a returning contract the next year. I was blown away and immediately called my Mom and Dad to tell them the exciting news. I could not ask for better and more supportive parents than the ones I have, but I was aching to tell them that I was actually going to be hired for a job in the field in which I have studied for the past 7 years! I am not trying to dramatize this event in any way, but am simply writing this so that if other singers read this to know that, at any time, opportunity can find you. And knowing how amazingly talented my friends are that are having difficulty finding work, I can only feel more humbled to be given this opportunity.
I also have the pleasure to announce that I will be attending Seagle Music Colony this summer in Schroon Lake, NY. This is a program that I have auditioned for in years past, but, for different reasons, have not had the chance to attend. I am very excited to be able to spend this summer with old friends and making new ones. I will be performing the roles of Arthur in Camelot, Elder McLean in Susannah and Bernardo in West Side Story; a British monarch, a southern deacon and a Puerto Rican gang leader. If that will not test my acting prowess, than I don’t know what will.
Nevertheless, I am anxiously awaiting starting this new chapter in my life, and though I will miss Houston and the amazing friends I have made there, I know that there will be even more opportunities in the coming years to meet new people and create new relationships while enjoying the wonderful chance to make music for a living. I have so many people that I wish to thank (now this is starting to sound like an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards… cue the wrap-up music) and that have supported me through this slightly tumultuous and uncertain year. I have to specifically mention Danny Cohen here, as he has been one of my largest supporters and donors to be able to continue this pursuit. Mostly, though, my amazing family, even with their comments of, “So… when will you have a full-time job now that you are out of school?” and “When will we see you singing Phantom of the Opera at the Fox in Atlanta?”
To thank these people, I am happy to announce some performances that are coming up, both here in Houston and in Atlanta. I will be performing with the wonderful Erin Kenneavy in recital at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Houston on June 1 @ 3:00 with Keith Weber at the piano. Then I will be performing in recital in the Statesboro, GA area sometime between June 3-7. I will then be coming back to Atlanta to perform in recital at First Baptist Lilburn, Lilburn, GA on June 7 @ 2:00, and at National Heights Baptist Church in Fayetteville, GA on June 9 @ 7:30.
I hope to see you all there and thank you again!