Original story by Janelle Davis,
According to Wikipedia, a baritone is a male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. However to Lamar Consolidated High School junior Matt Roorda, it’s more. It’s a voice that opened doors to a whole new world of opportunities.
Roorda is one of the lucky eight high school students to have made the Houston Grand Opera’s extremely prestigious High School Voice Studio scholarship program. High School Voice Studio is a year-long program that includes private weekly voice lessons, master classes, vocal coaching from the professionals and many performance opportunities.
Roorda began singing in the 8th grade, but only began singing opera during the fall of 2011. He landed a part in the mixed choir in the production of “Anna Bolena” by Opera in the Heights just shortly after making 2011 Texas Music Educators Associaton All-State choir.
Roorda auditioned for the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) High School Voice Studio with only a handful of previous audition experiences in his back pocket and more than a handful of pre-audition jitters. That didn’t faze him, though, because he got the one thing the only 49 high school teens wanted: a call back.
“You had to learn a song and sing it for the judges,” Roorda said. “If you’re lucky and they like it, you get a call back. At the call back, you would sing that same song again, as well as a new song, along with sight-reading a song. That was scary.”
When asked what the other seven people who made it were like, Roorda has nothing but nice things to say.
“They are all really great,” Roorda said. “The best part is that we all get along because we all know each other from All-State choir.”
He hopes to get a new sense of commitment and to improve as much as he possibly can during the year so he can be fully ready for the college auditions he will face his senior year. The prestigious opportunity brings Roorda one step closer to his dream of being a professional opera singer.
“I want to be like the Voldemort of magic,” Roorda said. “But in singing.”