Since she could first muster words, ninth-grader Charlotte Buckley has had an intense affinity for singing- so much so, she decided to become a part of the Sarasota Opera House in seventh grade. Performing in operas like the infamous “La Bohème,” “The Little Sweep,” and “Brundibar,” Buckley has nothing but love for the Sarasota Opera House.
“The community is really special…with opera, I genuinely look forward to it every week, and I love seeing my friends,” Buckley said. “The directors just do an amazing job. They’re all so personable and we get to interact with even the professional singers. It’s just a great program.”
Buckley became a member of the Sarasota Opera program when her mother surprised her with placement in the program. Initially intimidated, Buckley grew to find comfort in the Opera House and the community she has become a part of there.
“We’re all friends, and we get along really well. My tighter group, they are the best friends I have ever had,” Buckley said.
She sings in languages from French to Italian. Originally, she found it strange to sing in other languages, but as she continued to learn and read more music, she became accustomed to it. Buckley has also mastered reading sheet music, musical notation. Most students who attend Opera play other instruments, which help them read the sheet music: Buckley plays flute in the Pine View band and in the Sarasota Youth Orchestra.
Exposed to a variety of professional actors, singers, and dancers, Buckley has the opportunity to improve her own skills by observing the professionals. She said seeing the professional singers pursue what the younger singers are trying to achieve is deeply inspiring to her.
Buckley rehearses through Zoom this year but nevertheless continues to make a huge effort to continue improving her skills as much as possible. Buckley admits that the rehearsals feel different, but she remains optimistic about future rehearsals and performances.
She has continued to show her enthusiasm each time she performs, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Maestro George Hemcher, the Youth Opera Coordinator who teaches music to the young singers, has nothing but praise for Buckley.
“Charlotte is a joy to have in Sarasota Youth Opera. She is a hardworking singer and always works as a team player,” Hemcher said. “Being part of the chorus means that every individual is responsible for learning their music and being hyper-focused in rehearsal. Charlotte exemplifies this and shows her fellow colleagues respect and kindness.”
Buckley said she hopes to make it more than a hobby.
“I would love to [do it professionally] if it’s a possibility, and if I do pursue a career, I would most likely get involved in backstage work like management and directing,” Buckley said.