MMS Students To Play Lead Role In Wesley’s Opera

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By Kristen Gloss

“It takes something special,” said Milford Middle School choir director Andrea Davis. “Jazmyne has what it takes to be special.”

Jazmyne Marino, a MMS eighth grader, will not only be the youngest singer and actress in the Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” but also the only grade school student in the cast. The cast will feature college students and faculty as well as professional opera singers from Philadelphia.

“The goal of the opera, put on by the Wesley College music department and the Arts and Culture committee, is to expose children to the arts and build appreciation by offering shows free of charge,” opera director and Wesley College professor James Wilson said.

Marino contributes to this goal by giving 100 percent into everything she does and her own desire to inspire others to try singing too.

“It’s a great opportunity for Milford to be able to get behind the arts community,” said Choir Director Andrea Davis. “Now we have the opportunity to get outside of the city and show the rest of the state our arts.”

Jazmyne has been working on her singing since she entered the sixth grade choir directed by Davis; however, she has never acted before. Despite the lack of prior experience, she will face the challenge of having the leading role, Amahl, in the opera with skill and natural talent.

“She can act and take directions quickly, and she has the vocal range,” said Wilson. “It’s not an easy thing for a 12-year-old to do.”

The part of Amahl is usually played by a young soprano and requires the singer to be able to hit many high notes, said Wilson. When Marino tried out, she did the acting and focused on it alone. This allowed her to hit the high notes without stressing about it.

Marino has been learning the music for her leading role on her own by practicing every week for an hour since the start of school in August with Davis.

“From practice, I have been able to make my words sound clearer and hit notes that I had trouble with,” said Marino. “It’s challenging trying the acting part while singing.”

Rehearsals with the whole cast will begin October 29.  After all of the preparation, the opera will open on Thursday, November 29th in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts in Dover.; it is free of charge. All schools are invited to send as many students as they would like to the 10:30 am shows. The general public can see the opera at 7:00 pm.