A few days ago, Jon blogged about the “Who wants to be an Opera star?” program that the Young Artist Ensemble presents to the schools in Utah. We thought it would be fun to let everyone get to know our Ensemble Artists a bit – especially since they’ll be contributing the blog occasionally. Also, we’ve recently announced auditions for our 2009-2010 Ensemble Artists, so if you really have always wanted to be an Opera star, this may be your chance!
Chanel Wood, soprano. The first music Chanel ever heard was church music, but in her family’s church in Texas, there are no pianos, guitars or organs—only singing! So she learned to love singing with other people when she was very young. In elementary and middle school she sang whenever she could, but she was mostly really into basketball. In eighth grade she sang with a children’s theater in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. During that show, she had to act, dance and sing all at the same time, which Chanel loved. That’s when she decided she wanted to be a performer someday. Her love of musicals like Oklahoma and Into the Woods grew into a love of opera when she studied singing in college. Her mom, dad, and little brother Brian like to listen sometimes, but their dogs, Grace and Harvey, have never been very interested in opera. Chanel has always liked sports—she plays basketball, jogs and skis—and this summer she started swimming and playing Frisbee. She’s excited to be living in Utah where she hopes to try lots of other new things.
Gretchen Windt, mezzo soprano, is from Chicago. She has a very musical family. Her mother is a music teacher, her older brother is a conductor, her younger brother is a composer, and her younger sister is a pianist. Her mother started teaching her piano when she was six years old, and she played piano for the next thirteen years. She started singing in high school musicals including Fiddler on the Roof and The Pirates of Penzance. When she went to college, she started singing opera and loves the chance to play different characters . . . even boys! She also likes playing tennis and traveling (she last visited the Smoky Mountains), and she loves animals (she’s even a vegetarian).
Dominick Chenes, tenor, was born in Las Vegas and completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music there. Dominick has received many awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing and an encouragement award from the Metropolitan National Council. Also, Dominick has performed many roles with the UNLV Opera Theatre. For the past three years Dominick has traveled to Europe to take part in the American Institute of Musical Studies and the International Institute of Vocal Arts. In these programs, Dominick was able to study with some of the world’s greatest teachers and conductors.
Brent Reilly Turner, baritone, was born in Singapore, but moved to the US before his first birthday. In the US, Brent has lived in Ohio, Texas, and Florida. Brent has also lived in other countries including Indonesia and Australia but did most of his growing up in Orlando, Florida. He got his performing start at Walt Disney World, singing with Mickey, Goofy, Belle and many others. Brent loves to sing, but he also is a big sports nut. While in school, Brent played football, baseball, soccer, basketball and volleyball, and is currently a certified soccer referee. Brent also loves to play guitar and keyboard, and was in band for four years. He has four brothers, two younger and two older. All five Turner boys are musicians, with talents ranging from playing bass guitar and sax to composing and conducting.
Emily Williams, pianist, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She began taking piano lessons at six years old. While she loves listening to and playing classical music, she also loves all other types of music. Additionally, because she lives in Utah, Emily loves the mountains, hiking, and camping, as well as snowshoeing in the winter. She also enjoys reading and cooking meals and treats for herself, family, and friends.