Juggling classes, homework, a job, and music practice, Beatriz Abella seems like just another stressed, overworked, caffeine-infused college student.
Your average college student isn’t, however, practicing for a performance at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 18.
Actually, this will be her second performance this year. The first time she was invited to Carnegie Hall was for a solo performance in April. Now she’s going back, this time to perform a duet with fellow Southern Oregon University student Mandee Light.
“I’m dumbfounded about all of it,” said Abella. “When I read the email, I almost fell over. I’m just very blessed and lucky.”
The pair, who call themselves “Duo SOU,” entered into the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition, a competition where thousands of young instrumental musicians from around the world compete for the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall and other prestigious venues in New York City.
“American Protégé is advancing the careers of our participants and winners as well as promoting their talents,” says the program’s website. “The program seeks to encourage more young musicians to perform and grow. We believe the program offers many benefits to participants and helps to build their confidence and realize their dreams.”
Abella and Light performed a sequence from Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” opera as their audition piece.
“We thought we would have a better chance if we did something lighthearted and fun,” said Abella.
The pair were ecstatic after finding out they had been selected as one of the first place winners.
“I’m still in shock,” said Abella. “But we were smart in the repertoire we picked.”
Abella and Light attributed their success to hard work and their willingness to put themselves out there, but they also recognized the contributions of their teachers as well.
“We would be nothing without our teachers,” said Abella. “We’re really lucky because [the department] is really like a big family.”
“I don’t view myself as the best vocalist at SOU,” she added. “You just have to keep at it and try new stuff, stuff that’s out of the box.”
“You could have all the talent in the world,” said Light, adding to Abella’s comment. “But if you don’t work hard nothing’s going to happen.”