Ouachita Baptist University student Katie Edenfield will be spending her summer working with the prominent training program Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point (OIO). Through this program she will take master classes as well as participate in opera productions while living near Eureka Springs, Ark., in the Ozark Mountains.
“My voice teacher pulled out this application, pulled up the site and told me she had been a part of this program and that I really needed to apply and audition,” said Edenfield, a junior vocal performance major from Fort Worth, Texas, and student of Suzetta Glenn. “When I mentioned that I was hesitant, she told me that if I wanted to pursue anything in this field, I could only do it if I went for it. So, I did.”
Through OIO, Edenfield will take part in four weeks of rehearsal followed by four weeks of performance, all under the supervision of a professional, experienced staff.
“It will be helpful to actually be singing and growing over the summer so when fall term rolls around I will have been working all summer on voice,” Edenfield said. “It will also help me decide if this is what I want to do with my life.”
For OBU alumnus Joshua Shaw, OIO confirmed his belief that he wanted to have a career as a performer. Shaw took part in OIO in 2001, the summer before his senior year at Ouachita, winning Best Young Male Artist that year. He returned to OIO in both 2006 and 2007, spending his final year as a singer/assistant director for the scenes program.
“Opera in the Ozarks did everything for me.” said Shaw, who is currently living in Los Angeles, Calif., performing in Lucia di Lammermoor. “Before that summer I had no idea what being in an opera was all about.”
Since his time at OIO, Shaw has performed in leading roles with companies from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Southern California and received a master’s degree at Southern Illinois University in opera and music theatre performance.
“That summer at OIO I met coaches, directors and singers who I have worked with multiple times since,” Shaw said. “I will always remember OIO as the place that made me an opera singer.
For Edenfield, her experiences at OBU have helped prepare her for OIO and a possible career in the performing arts.
“My teacher has taught me how to sing and therefore none of it would be possible without her,” Edenfield said. “She has taught me the importance of poise and stage presence, of practicing and of being confident in performing. The experience with singing, acting and even some dancing that I have gotten at OBU has helped me tremendously, and now, with this program, I hope my performing will improve and get even better.
At OIO, Edenfield will have the opportunity to sing in performances of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Puccini’s “Tosca” and Bizet’s “Carmen” as well as an opera scenes program and Special Anniversary Concert featuring Isaac Van Grove’s “Ruth,” the fourth movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and special soloists to be selected from alumni and current participants.
OIO was founded by Dr. Henry Hobart in 1950 and is affiliated with the National Federation of Music Clubs. It boasts alumni such as opera greats Mark Delavan, Hei Kyung Hong, Gwendolyn Jones, Chris Merritt and Louis Otey, who have appeared in major performing venues around the world.
For more information about Opera in the Ozarks and a schedule of the 2010 performances, visit www.opera.org/. Fore more information about Ouachita Baptist University’s Division of Music, visit www.obu.edu/music.
By Rebecca Stone