Beatriz Abella’s passion is singing. When SOU music professor Alexander Tutunov heard her sing in Alaska, he was so impressed he persuaded her to come to SOU because of its strong nursing and music programs.
She thought seriously about nursing, but changed her major to music/business shortly after she arrived at SOU.
Beatriz was the only female freshman to be accepted into the SOU Chamber Choir and toured with the group Germany and the Czech Republic in 2009. At the end of her freshman year, she had earned the Outstanding Music Freshman Award, the E. Mulling Music Scholarship, the Leon Mulling Music Scholarship and the Diversity Scholarship. In her sophomore year, Beatriz was accepted as a performance major and was featured as a soloist for the SOU Concert Choir. As a junior, she performed for Southern Oregon Arts and Research festivities in May.
Her talent opened doors outside SOU as well. In 2009, she played Marcy Park in the Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” It was the first time in 25 years that a student had been cast at the theatre.
Her biggest honor to date was becoming the only vocalist to receive the Grand Winner prize for the National Young Musicians Showcase Competition. She started as the runner-up, but the original Grand Winner, a Juilliard student, wasn’t able to attend the award ceremony, so Beatriz received that award—and sang at the ceremony at Carnegie Hall April 30, 2011.
Beatriz is a first-generation Filipino-American who was born in Alaska. Her father is a US postal service worker, her mother an accountant for the state.
“Singing makes me feel free, uninhibited,” she says. “When you’re singing really well it’s like an out-of-body experience. You’ve practiced the piece so many times you have to let yourself go and the music takes care of itself.”
SOU and the Ashland community, she says, have given her many opportunities to perform and grow. “Not many places will give you the opportunity to perform in a professional theatre your freshman year. Or tour Europe your freshman year, and perform where Bach himself is buried. It’s safe to say I’m extremely lucky.”