2012 leaver Katie Blackwell is part of an all female classical operatic trio, Sorelle
. Their aim is to both increase accesibility within opera audiences, but also to create more of a space for female artists within the community. They are holding a concert on the 7th December in St Mary's, Long Wittenham.
Katie got in touch to tell us a bit more about her musical career.
'I studied at St Helen's and St Katharine's from 2005 - 2012, and I think it's a fair estimate to say that I spent around 75% of my time there in the Music Department. It paid off; I went on to study Music and History for my undergrad at Cardiff University, and then I worked in various roles in theatre/production before beginning my Masters in Vocal Performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire this year. I sang professionally for the first time while I was at St Helen's - I was in Year 11, and my work experience with a local opera company resulted in me auditioning and getting a part in their chorus. My teachers at St Helen's, especially Penny (my singing teacher) and Helena (my Head of Music) were incredibly supportive of a rather niche career choice, and it's because of that encouragement and the work ethic they instilled in me that I've managed to continue on in the strange and wonderful world of opera!
Celebrating female voices in classical music has always been a top priority for me, and this year myself and two other fantastic sopranos, Megan Strachan and Olivia Bell, formed Sorelle
to do just that. Sorelle
("Sisters") is an operatic trio aimed at revitalising the image of the women of opera - the queens, lovers, witches, heroines - and restoring them to their rightful place in the public imagination. We celebrate the roles of these women, and also the power of the female voice in a male-dominated field. We also aim to bring opera to those who may not have had a chance to experience it before, and consciously make all our concerts family friendly to encourage children and young people to attend. As three professional performers we place theatre front and centre - from opera, to song, to musical theatre and everything in between, it's safe to say that you won't be bored at a Sorelle
concert! Despite only debuting in April 2019, Sorelle
has already held three concerts and will hold two more over the Christmas period, one of which will be in St Mary's Church, Long Wittenham. Sorelle's
concert on the 7 December is entitled 'Some Enchanted Evening' so expect an evening of witches, goddesses, and fairy-tale magic - and a fair bit of festive cheer, of course. It's a delight to be returning to Oxfordshire where I first began my musical training, and I hope to bring Sorelle
back many times in the future!
Katie and the members of Sorelle, at their debut concert, Belle Nuit.