Juniors Gain National Recognition

Over summer break, juniors Isaiah Gallegos and Caleb Mienk will be attending a national opera program

Ava Nelson, Editor

  Juniors Isaiah Gallegos and Caleb Mienk were accepted to a three week intensive summer program at the Washington National Opera. The program is through the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

  “I wasn’t expecting to get in, I was optimistic, I was hopeful, but I didn’t really care much if I got in or not, but then when I saw that I did get in it was kind of like, ‘Wow I can make it in this industry,’ so it’s given me a lot of hope for the future,” Mienk said.

  Gallegos and Mienk only found out about the program three days before the deadline for the application, but their choir teacher, Erich Wangeman, pushed them to apply.

  “[Wangeman] sent it to us and he was like, ‘I know it’s really late, but I still think it’s a good idea,’” Gallegos said.

  The application consisted of two essays, a resume and two song performances. One of the essay prompts was, “How can opera change the world?”

  “I wrote about the intimacy of opera. Opera to me, it takes the best parts of all of the art forms, like their costuming, design, the music and the acting. It takes the best of everything and it melts it into one beautiful creation,” Mienk said.

  Opera singing does not amplify the voices of the singers at all, so the performers have to train to be able to achieve the standard of voices for opera.

  “Because they don’t use amplification, your voice has to be really big all the time, so that training allows you to grow your capacity for how big your voice can be,” Mienk said.

  Their passion for music encourages Mienk and Gallegos to continue to pursue acting and singing for their whole lives.

  “To me and to Caleb, this is our type of music that we like and I wish people could see that training and the hard work that goes into it. The plots of operas themselves are so diverse and so complicated, and if you truly take time to enjoy them, I think you can love them just as much as we do,” Gallegos said.