PAC vocalists make Carnegie Hall debut
January 31, 2020
The chance to perform at Carnegie Hall is a lifelong dream for many musical artists around the world. That dream is coming to fruition for two Palo Alto College vocalists as they take the stage during the 2020 Young Adult Honors Performance Series (HPS) at Carnegie Hall.
The students, Joshua Miller and Roberta Ramos, are among the highest-rated 18 to 25-year-old vocalists from across the globe to be selected. Miller has been singing for two years, and Ramos just started taking lessons in fall 2019.
"I'm from a small town of about 3,000 people. My family is super proud that I came to Palo Alto, pushed myself to learn music, and was brave enough to take on this type of role," said Ramos. "They're so excited about what I will do in the future with the music degree I eventually receive."
To reach such a high level of vocal skill after only receiving formal voice lessons for a short time, the Ramos and Miller’s family and friends are beaming with pride.
“At first, my family didn't understand how big a deal this was,” said Miller. “Only about 50 or 60 people around the entire world are selected, and the fact that I was chosen is just an incredible honor. My dad told me that he is very proud of me. He wants me to make sure my music is perfect.”
Edlyn De Oliveira, music instructor at Palo Alto College, expressed that the training and experiences students receive in the music program are all in preparation for opportunities like this.
"Part of the program here at Palo Alto is to build that confidence. A lot of these students haven't had that exposure of being in front of an audience,” said De Oliveira. “We have two to three performances every semester and must learn music very quickly. What is challenging with programs like HPS is that students aren't given music until about one month before."
Miller and Ramos spent a lot of their winter break learning the seven pieces of music they will perform at Carnegie Hall.
“A couple of songs are in a different language, so the most difficult aspect of learning this music is the pronunciation and speed,” said Miller. “The notes are fairly easy because they're within our vocal range, but some parts have a fast tempo.”
Both students received an invitation to apply after being nominated by De Oliveira. Following a rigorous auditioning process and a review by the Honors Selection Board, they were accepted.
De Oliveira herself had the chance to debut at Carnegie at the beginning of her career, so she understands the impact a program like this can have in the life of a rising artist.
“As a soloist, you walk in, and you feel this energy. It's as if you were in the presence of these great artists that have come before you. There’s a great sense of responsibility and privilege,” De Oliveira said. “I am so grateful that my students get to experience this. It’s all thanks to the continued support of our school and the Palo Alto College administration.”
Miller and Ramos will join other performers from around the world in New York City for five days at the beginning of February where they will have the opportunity to learn from a world-renowned conductor, work with other Finalists, and get a taste of the city. Their trip will culminate with a special performance at New York City’s world-famous Carnegie Hall, a venue that marks the pinnacle of musical achievement.