Duo SOU Heads to New York’s Carnegie Hall

Beatriz Abella, left, and Mandee Light are Duo SOU. In December they will head to Carnegie Hall in New York City to perform. Photo by SOU student Michaela Brynn.

Ashland, Ore. — It’s not every day an undergraduate music major has the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall—twice.

It hasn’t really sunk in for her, but that’s exactly what Southern Oregon University music student Beatriz Abella, 21, will do before she graduates.

“I still can’t believe it,” she said, shaking her head in amazement. Her first trip to Carnegie Hall was in April, when she sang during the National Young Musicians Showcase Competition’s Winners Recital after receiving the Grand Winner prize.In December, Abella and her fellow music student, Mandee Light, 20, will travel to New York to perform in the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition’s Winners Concert, where they will sing a piece from the opera, “Hansel and Gretel,” composed by Engelbert Humperdinck. The opera is based on the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale.

Abella and Light, known as Duo SOU, submitted a DVD of their “Hansel and Gretel” performance to officials at the competition in October. In it, Light portrayed Gretel and Abella played Hansel. To view it, go here.

Several SOU faculty and staff helped make their DVD possible by providing costumes, recital hall space, a video camera, piano back-up and voice warm-up assistance.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Light. “They helped us in ways we didn’t expect.”

Light and Abella beat out many other musicians from across the globe to perform. Instrumentalists specializing in piano, winds, strings, brass and vocals may enter. First-place winners, including Abella and Light, will perform Dec. 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Other American winners for 2011 hail from Georgia, California, Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan. International winners include Poland, Italy, China, Costa Rica, Canada, Korea, Germany and Taiwan.

Light and Abella will be practicing as much as they can before they leave. Their families will join them in New York. Abella hails from Juneau, Alaska, and Light is from Medford.

“We’re very excited about it. It’s an amazing experience and you can feel the history of the hall when you’re there,” Abella said.

To find out more about the competition, visit www.americanprotege.com.

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