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RAC Announces Summer Concert Series Young Artists

Russell Arts Council LogoFrom Tanglewood to Bard, from Aspen to Spoleto, Summer Young Artist Programs are popular nationwide for twenty-somethings pursuing careers in opera.

Usually the singers in these programs are hired to serve as the opera chorus, take classes during the day, and prepare opera scenes and recitals. One of the missions of the Russell Arts Council's Summer Concert Series is to provide these types of jobs for young artists in Western Kansas, where they currently do not exist. The RAC's Young Artist Program employs singers on the same track as other programs across the country. They will serve as section leaders in the Chamber Choir and the Community Choir and be the soloists for the high school concert and present a collective recital including some of their own repertoire and music written by Johannes Brahms. The four singers chosen are all Kansas natives studying or recently graduating from Kansas universities with degrees in voice performance.Calder Craig

Calder Craig is serving as the baritone for the series. A Russell native, Craig is an active performer based out of Hays. He has placed in the top five at the West Central Region National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) student auditions six times. His operatic roles include David in A Hand of Bridge, the Father in The Little Match Girl, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Father Philippe in The Wandering Scholar, and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. Past musical roles include: Shoeless Joe in Damn Yankees, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, and Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls. Craig was most recently seen singing the role of Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisird'amore this spring at Fort Hays State University. He is in the studio of Joe Perniciaro. In August, Craig will begin his Master of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Hayley FunkHayley Funk is a junior at Fort Hays State University and is singing mezzo-soprano for the Summer Concert Series. She recently sang the role of Gianetta in FHSU's production of the Elixir of Love. Previously she has sung the roles of the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel and the role of Peep-bo in scenes from the Mikado. Funk's musical theater roles include Polly in Crazy for You, Niki Harris in Curtains, a Hot box girl in Guys and Dolls, Laurey in Oklahoma and Beth in Little Women. She has been a semi-finalist and finalist at regional NATS. She is currently a student of Dr. Joseph Perniciaro and is working towards a Bachelor's degree in vocal performance.Rachel Hunt

Manhattan's Rachel Hunt, soprano, will be a junior Vocal Performance major at Kansas State University this fall. Her most recent role was Angelina in K-State's opera Trial By Jury. She has also participated in K-State's Musical productions of The Music Man and The Wedding Singer. She was raised singing jazz with her father but has been singing in church, community and school choirs all her life. She is very excited to start performing again and would like to thank Dr. Julie Yu for introducing her to this wonderful new choral experience.

Karl PrattKarl Pratt is the tenor for the summer and is a native of Hoxie. Pratt graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance this spring from Fort Hays State University where he was seen playing the role of Nemorino in Donizetti's The Elixir of Love this April. Other operatic roles include the Witch in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, the Scholar in Holst's The Wandering Scholar and the title role in Monteverdi's L'orfeo. In 2013, Pratt sang at the Johanna Meier Opera Theatre Institute held at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota, where he performed the roles of the Male Chorus from The Rape of Lucretia and Duke Theseus from A Midsummer's Night Dream, both by Benjamin Britten. Pratt has competed in the West Central Regional NATS student auditions six times, most recently placing 2nd in the graduate men's division. He will pursue a graduate degree in vocal performance this fall at either Wichita State University or Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

For more information about the Summer Concert Series, CLICK HERE.

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