Students to get a taste of Italian opera


Kevin Sheridan

(Left to right) ARC music professor Susan Hamre, Ardalan Gharachorloo (violin), Kalen Hanson (percussion), Kyra Pigford (violin and harp), Justin Vaughn (tenor vocalist), and Efrin Fuentes (flute).

Kevin Sheridan and Kevin Sheridan

Eight opera students from American River College will travel to Viterbo, Italy this summer to perform and study opera as part of a study abroad program.

The students will be studying with a high-level maestro and performing excerpts from several operas. They will also serve as members of the orchestra in the opera “Falstaff,” by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi.

“It’s a great opportunity as it is. (Viterbo) is one of the major meccas of opera,” said Kalen Hanson, one of the eight students making the trip. “It’s one of the original homes of opera. It’s a great opportunity to hone our craft.”

The students will provide music for many opera scenes, then perform in their own concerts and chamber music events.

The trip is being organized by the International Lyric Academy, an academy that specializes in training opera performers.

The academy holds auditions for the trip in many cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, and Beijing.

The idea for the trip came from Allison Buck, a professional bassoon player who asked if students from ARC would like to audition.

“I looped my kids in and eight of them made it,” said Susan Hamre, the director of the symphonic band at ARC. The eight students who made it were out of sixty in her class.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids. They’ll never get this opportunity again. Ever,” said Hamre.

The trip features free room and board for the students once they arrive in Italy, but they need to pay for their own transportation to the country.

To raise the needed money, the students have been organizing “Music to Go” programs, from which students can be hired to perform at birthday parties and other events. All money raised through these events is given to the students to pay for their flights to Italy.

The trip will be for six weeks from July 1 to Aug 19.