By CATHERINE NEWHOUSE
As she experimented with styles of music, Hickman High School senior Mary Kettlewell found her passion for opera last year. Around that time, her choir teacher saw her potential and started playing famous opera excerpts and videos for her, she said.
“I started to sing more vocally challenging songs, with added elements like trills,” Kettlewell said. “I realized that my voice fit in really well with that kind of music, rather than poppy, jazzy kind of stuff.”
Kettlewell had already discovered that she got a thrill out of being on stage after playing the lead in the Hickman musical “Kiss Me, Kate,” so the chance to use both acting and singing in her career struck her as the perfect combination.
Before she leaves Hickman and begins her college career at MU, the aspiring opera singer will hold her senior recital, which is open to the public, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14 at Fairview Road Community of Christ Church, 1111 S. Fairview Road. She will sing six works and play four pieces on the flute.
Kettlewell said she was inspired to have a recital after attending friends’ senior recitals last year. She said it’s common for Hickman and Rock Bridge musicians to hold recitals before they graduate.
“I thought, I want to do that when I’m a senior,” Kettlewell said. “I want to have my own show.”
Kettlewell has sung in choir and played the flute since sixth grade. More recently, she performed in the All State Honor Band her sophomore year and the All State Honor Choir her junior and senior year. Last year, she attended the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, a three-week summer program at Missouri State University in Springfield. Kettlewell has also earned superior ratings on vocal and instrumental solos at the State Music Festival.
At Hickman, she is a member of the wind ensemble and a capella choir. She has performed in two other Hickman musicals, as Annie in “Annie Get Your Gun” and Rose Alvarez in “Bye Bye Birdie.”
“It’s nice to be able to channel your emotions into a character and play someone who isn’t yourself,” Kettlewell said.
Out of all her accomplishments, Kettlewell said she is especially proud of making it to All State Honor Choir, a four-day experience of practicing and then performing at the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference.
“There’s so many sopranos in the district choir, and they only pick four out of the entire group,” she said. “It’s just really hard to get in.”
After she graduates from Hickman in about two weeks, Kettlewell plans to attend MU and major in vocal performance with a possible double major in nutrition.
“For the longest time, singing has just been my passion,” Kettlewell said. “The idea of opera, combining that vocal aspect with theater, is really appealing to me.”
WHAT: Mary Kettlewell’s senior recital
WHO: Lyric soprano and flutist Mary Kettlewell, accompanied by Judy Shaw on the piano
WHEN: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Fairview Road Community of Christ Church, 1111 S. Fairview Road
At her recital, Kettlewell will sing the following works:
- “Quando M’en Vo Soletta,” known as “Musetta’s Waltz,” from the opera “La Boheme”
- “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” from “Sweeney Todd”
- “O Del Mio Amato Ben” by Stefano Donaudy
- “Let My Song Fill Your Heart” by Ernest Charles
- “Memory” from the musical “Cats”
- “Art Is Calling for Me” from “The Enchantress”
She will play the following works on the flute:
- “Cantabile et Presto” by Georges Enesco
- “Sonata” by Prokofiev
- “Duettino,” a duet with Rock Bridge High School senior Qin Qin Yu
- “The Swiss Shepherd” by Morlacchi