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SIGP recipient, FrankFrank Laucerica is a rising junior studying Voice & Opera Performance/Choral Music Education in the Bienen School of Music. He is a 2015 Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP) recipient.

Miami has always been my home; it’s where I grew up and where the seed of music was planted in my heart. Ever since I left for Northwestern, that plant has grown each day, but I never imagined that Miami’s sandy shores would serve as the rich soil where flowers would bloom once again. My relationship with the Miami Summer Music Festival began as the need to gain professional experience, as all young musicians are expected to, with the added convenience that I could be back at home. It has since grown to be the single-handedly most influential musical experience of my life.

In the three weeks that I have been attending the program, I have gotten to know people from all across the world, to sing for and with renowned artists and teachers, and have grown as an individual in the meantime. Within the first week, I was introduced to and singing for our maestro, Steven Gathman, from Washington National Opera, our director, Alan Hicks, from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and in an opera arias recital with Caren Levine, from the Metropolitan Opera. In the second two weeks, I have gotten to work with Manny Perez, from the University of Miami, been invited to sing in a masterclass of his, and to perform in a Zarzuela Concert with Sergio Puig, from the Florida Grand Opera.

Pride in one’s alma mater is what unites alumni across decades of time. I’ve always understood myself to be a proud wildcat, but it wasn’t until I attended this Opera Institute that I truly understood what it meant to be proud of one’s own alma mater. I am attending this festival with four other Northwestern students: Sam Garcia, Catherine McAree, Gabrielle Lowell and Laura Pitkin. Aside from giving me the opportunity for my friendships with each of them to grow, this program has given us the opportunity to represent the true strength that Northwestern has to offer the music world, and you can’t help but get a good feeling in your gut about that.

Northwestern is among the top universities in the nation for Voice & Opera Performance, but one of the issues with only ever having school-related experiences is that we cannot truly gauge where we stand in comparison to others if our perspective never changes. For that very reason, Miami Summer Music Festival has allowed us to have a glimpse of what the world outside of Northwestern offers. It is a place where I feel encouraged to pursue what I love and confident that I can achieve what I desire. Now with the renewed confidence that Northwestern is doing a good job with us, I will return to school with even more drive to take the opera world by storm.

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