Opera Students Take the Stage at Wolf Trap Sunday

Singers from the distinguished Peabody Conservatory will be center stage at Wolf Trap this weekend, living out a dream that's really just beginning, their teacher said.

That teacher is one of their opera idols: Opera soprano Denyce Graves.

Graves has been going to the famed conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore each week for six years to coach and encourage undergraduate and graduate students.

Simone Brown has been following her dream to sing since she was a little girl growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“I started singing in church choir when I was in elementary school,” she said.

Mary Burke of Centreville, Virginia, dreams of singing with the Washington National Opera someday.

“Especially growing up in the area, you go to all the operas, you see all these people singing in such a fantastic space,” she said. “I know that’s definitely something I'd want to do someday.”

Tammi Lee, a fourth-year student from Washington state, said she took voice lessons as a child, was bored but changed her mind in high school.

“We have so many great singers in our little studio family,” Brown said.

The group is preparing to sing at a special concert their coach was able to arrange for Sunday afternoon at Wolf Trap.

“We don't all get to sing together very often, so I think this may be the first time all of us are singing together, so it should be a lot of fun,” Brown said.

They have a tough coach, who wants them all to be ready and at the top of their game. Graves wants them all to reach their dreams.

“Somewhat of an impossible dream, but we have the best people around to help us make it come true,” Brown said.

They all hope to sing for their supper as their livelihood someday soon.

“Here I am standing here today,” Graves said. "It’s an absolute possible dream.”

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