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Student masters return to opera stage

After six years of working a dull office job, Jonathan Moots knew that he had to return to what he truly loved: opera.

“I realized you have to follow your passion,” said the second-year graduate student from Lawton, Okla. “So many undergraduates are just doing what their parents want them to do.”

But Moots’ parents have always been involved in and supportive of his music career, which started at a young age. His father, a jazz and trumpet teacher, started giving him “little kid roles” in his shows when Moots was a child.

“It was cheaper than getting a babysitter for my parents to just put me in the shows,” the bass singer said.

Even at such a young age, Moots was fascinated by opera. Growing up, he was in the choir at both school and church, attended summer singing programs and studied voice starting at the age of 16.

But after graduating from Midwestern State in Texas, Moots took a six-year hiatus from opera, and worked at a job he disliked. So in 2006, he auditioned for the prestigious Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton. After being accepted, he decided to attend Binghamton University, as well.

“I’ve been really busy here in Binghamton,” Moots said, “but I’ve been able to sing lead roles and hone my skills.”

While working on his master’s in opera, which he will complete in May, Moots is a TA for a music appreciation class and teaches private voice lessons. He said the biggest challenge has been trying to balance school, teaching and his singing.

Diane Richardson, associate professor of music and Moots’ vocal coach, said he has been a wonderful colleague.

“He has a beautiful bass voice,” Richardson said.  “He has natural, God-given talent and he works hard at his craft.”

In May, Moots will perform his Master’s Recital, where he will sing a variety of styles by different composers.

“It’s a very broad program,” he said, “but I love a challenge.”

After graduation, Moots plans to move to Europe to further pursue opera. But no matter where he takes his opera career, Moots knows he will never return to another office.

“If you don’t follow your passion,” he said, “then what’s the point?”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08