Southwestern College students Jasmine Jackson and Dylan Moore will perform with the Wichita Grand Opera for two shows this season.
Both will perform in the production of Verdi’s “Otello” on Jan. 19, and in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” on March 16. The Wichita Grand Opera performs at Century II Concert Hall.
Jackson, a senior from Spencer, Okla., auditioned in August and as a result was asked to be a Young Artist in Residence. She was pleasantly surprised when she received the news.
“I didn’t even begin singing opera or classical music until I came to Southwestern,” Jackson says. “At the audition I heard some great voices doing amazing operatic things; it was intimidating. It took about a month and a half to hear back but when I got that e-mail saying I was accepted, I was so excited.”
“I am so thankful for my voice teachers here at SC,” Jackson continues. “Sarah Stevens guided me my first few years here. She was such a motivator. And now Dr. (David) Gardner who is so patient and encouraging. He is always building me up and telling me ‘You can do it.’ They both saw potential in me that I never saw.”
Moore, a junior from Ottawa, didn’t formally audition but was accepted into the chorus upon the recommendation of David Gardner, director of choirs at Southwestern. Moore says he was ecstatic to be chosen and plans to audition for the Young Artist in Residence program next year.
“‘Otello’ is one of Verdi’s most prominent operas and many consider the production to be as good or better than the original play,” Moore says. “The chorus plays a very prominent role in the production. I think the thing that I like most about being a part of Wichita Grand Opera is the level of musicianship that I am surrounded by each week in rehearsal. I hope that this experience will help to increase my musical abilities and give me multiple experiences that prepare me for a professional career after college.”
Gardner says that this a great fit for both the students and the Wichita Grand Opera.
“I’m so happy that Jasmine and Dylan have this opportunity to work with a professional opera company,” Gardner says. “They will be working alongside international stars and learning things that can’t be taught in the classroom. At the same time, I’m happy for Wichita Grand Opera – Dylan and Jasmine are two of our best, and they’ve earned the right to be on that stage.”