If you’ve ever been to a performance in SOU’s Music Building, you’ve probably seen Beatriz Abella.
She’s a stage manager with the music department, a title she says is mostly just a fancy term for stagehand. You can usually see her punching tickets at the door, setting up the stands onstage between acts, controlling the lights, or cleaning up after everything is over.
She works as a music librarian, playing gopher for the music professors by getting them music scores and filing them after they’re done.
She also performed at Carnegie Hall over the weekend, singing solo with a piano accompaniment.
“I’m honored,” said Abella. “It’s actually kind of hard to believe. You could feel the history of the hall.”
Abella sang at Carnegie Hall on April 30 after winning second place in a national competition hosted by the National League of Performing Arts. After the Grand Winner dropped out of the competition, Abella was given the title and invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.
“I started looking for competitions about six months ago,” said Abella. “Rejection is part of being a musician. You have to play it by the numbers, the more you apply for the greater the chance for success.”
Abella, a music business and music performance double major, is a junior at SOU. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, she came to SOU because Alexander Tutunov, a SOU music professor, encouraged her to apply after hearing her sing at a cousin’s piano recital.
In the three years since then, Abella has been in the choir of “Johnny Johnson”, a production put on last year by the Theater Department, was one of six SOU students to perform at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, and the only freshman girl in SOU’s Chamber Choir to tour Germany and the Czech Republic.
Although Abella has had several successes, she’s had to work hard to get where she is now.
“Don’t get down on yourself when you’re in your development,” she said. “I sucked as a freshman. I’m in a better place now, but I can’t let it get to my head.”
“Follow your passion,” she said. “But you need to know what that will entail. I’ll be able to have the stage to myself sometimes, and so when I’m sweeping I’ll be singing.”
“It doesn’t come naturally to me,” she said. “I really have to work at it. And my professors would agree with that. Keep trying. Try again differently if that doesn’t work. And then keep trying the next day.”
Despite her accomplishments, Abella remains very modest about her achievements, attributing her success to her teachers, family, and friends.
“I’m not the most vocally developed student we have at SOU,” she said. “It’s impossible without the support of family and friends. As much as people want to believe that it’s a single-person effort, it’s a network of people that get you where you need to be.”
Abella plans on attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music after graduating SOU to continue her training as a vocalist.
“It’s easy to say ‘A hall is just a hall, a performance is just a performance’,” she said. “But Carnegie Hall has such a history, and I’m part of that legacy now.”