By Kathy L. Collins
Awards are used to recognize excellence. Recently, Rachel Steinbacher, a Junior at Bloomingdale High School, placed first in the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild and The St. Petersburg Opera Company’s Opera Vocal Competition. Of the win, Steinbacher said, “I was a bit shocked. I knew I did a good job. The win was pleasant and it reaffirmed and reassured me that I am doing the right thing.”
Steinbacher has been singing for six years, but for the last three years, she has concentrated on opera. Developing a vocal talent such as Steinbacher’s takes commitment and devotion similar to an athlete. Artists are dedicated to their craft and put in hours of practice. Steinbacher takes voice lessons every Saturday from Andrea Peacock, a music teacher from Burns Middle School. In addition, she takes lessons from Linda Switzer every other week. Steinbacher practices nearly every day.
When asked why she chose opera, Steinbacher said, “Something about opera just draws me in. I really enjoy it.” Steinbacher started in musical theatre. She is a member of the Ambassadors Show Choir at Bloomingdale High School.
Opera has been a part of Western classical music tradition since the 16th century. It incorporates many elements of the spoken theatre such as acting, scenery and costumes. And like musical theatre, it tells a story. But with opera, the singer must learn to speak and understand foreign languages such as Italian and German. “You have to know what you are saying in order to sing the song correctly,” explained Steinbacher.
“Music is extremely important for a creative outlet. It is important for everyone to respect all kinds of music,” said Steinbacher.
Steinbacher will compete in an upcoming opera competition at the University of South Florida in April. Steinbacher plans to attend Mannes College The New School For Music in New York City and earn a dual degree in Business, Music and Vocal Performance.