Hometown: Cedar Falls, IA
1. How did you first become interested in singing?
My junior high school choir director, Ruth Koltookian, said that she could hear me while the whole choir was singing, and that I had some talent. I signed up for voice lessons and a few weeks later won a vocal arts competition at the local university. From then on, I was hooked.
2. Where/with whom have you studied?
At Simpson College, I studied with the late Dr. Maria DiPalma, and in Chicago I took lessons for a few months from Richard Stilwell. Other teachers include Braeden Harris, Carl Lawrenz, and Todd Thomas.
3. What is your favorite opera and why?
Turandot has a very special place in my heart as it was the first professional opera I was ever involved in. It also contains my all-time favorite line for a chorister, “coraggio scoglitore degli enigmi.” [Courage, Diviner of Enigmas.]”
4. What is your dream role?
I have to go with Scarpia. Even though he’s a bad guy, he has, in my opinion, some of the best music in all of opera. Mephistopheles is a close second.
5. If you could have dinner with any composer, who would you choose and why?
Jacopo Peri…the original Florentine. I think it would be interesting to get his opinions about modern opera.
6. Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
I just try to relax and convince myself that I know what I’m doing.
7. What has been your most unusual performance to date and why?
I performed at a holiday concert in the dining room of a restaurant which included me singing bass, baritone, and tenor rep all within the span of about an hour. It was very challenging vocally, but came with a delicious free dinner.
8. If you were tone-deaf, what would your dream job be?
I could be a judge for America’s Got Talent!
9. What’s on your iPod right now?
At the risk of sounding like an opera nerd, there’s nothing on my iPod other than opera and some voice lessons.
10. What are you most excited to do in Milwaukee?
Singing with the Florentine Opera is the thing I’m most excited about in Milwaukee! I’m also looking forward to checking out the Basilica of St. Josephat and the Milwaukee Art Museum.