TRAVERSE CITY — Tami Grove still can recall competing in one of Michigan’s top student voice competitions back in high school.
Now two of her own students are competing in the 20th annual contest for high school classical and opera vocalists.
Soprano Marin Tack and baritone Logan Dell’Acqua are two of four area students selected as finalists in the Italian Songs and Arias Vocal Competition for Michigan High School Students sponsored by the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan. Both are seniors at Traverse City Central High School where Grove is choral director.
“The folks who run the Verdi Opera are all of Italian descent so they’re
looking for students who really know how to pronounce Italian and sing in Italian,” said Grove, who was a finalist in the 1999 competition. “For that reason alone it’s a difficult competition. They’re looking for the most authentic presentation.”
Sage DeAgro-Ruopp is hoping to give the judges just that when she and the other finalists compete in the “Concert of the Finalists” May 4 at the Italian-American Cultural Center of Clinton Township. The soprano, a senior at Interlochen Arts Academy, spent last summer in Italy to learn the language and music of the country. She plans to return this summer.
“Italian is my favorite language to sing,” said DeAgro-Ruopp, of Traverse City, an Old Town Playhouse veteran of about 40 shows. “But this is definitely nerve-wracking, especially when you’re singing for native Italians because they’re so picky.”
Tack, of TC Central, hopes to top her second-place performance in last year’s competition with renditions of Tosti’s “Luna d’estate” and Handel’s “Piangero la sorte mia.”
“The Verdi is a good way to make connections with people and to learn and grow as a performer,” said the singer, who has sung leading roles in Central’s musicals and plans to study voice in college. “It also is a fun experience and I always enjoy performing classical repertoire.”