Five Palo Alto College Choir students will attend the 2019 Honors Performance Series at The Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, from July 31 to Aug. 5. They are Alexander Montalvo, Jordan Rodriguez, Cristina Esquivel, Rebecca Milligan and Samantha Moreno.
These students were first nominated by their music professor, Edlyn De Oliveira, and were given a week to record and send two pieces of audio files to the honors program to audition for the spots.
Hundreds of students entered to be part of this program, but only 50 of them were picked as finalist to attend. This program brings together a variety of talented students from all over the world, allowing them to make new friends, network, and learn about each other’s lifestyles and heritage. The students will be given a chance to spend six days in Sydney, Australia, and work with master conductors, build their performance resume, rehearse, perform together as an Honors Choir and get to know accomplished musicians from around the world.
Alexander Montalvo was a finalist last year. This time he will be accompanied by four of his classmates.
“Only a handful of us were selected to go to the Sydney Opera House, and so for five of us to make it from San Antonio, from Palo Alto College…it was amazing to find out that all five of us were going,” said Montalvo. “This idea of singing at places like this was always a dream…then you get opportunities like this, and it opens your eyes.”
One of Montalvo’s goals is to join the Houston Opera.
Jordan Rodriguez, another finalist, said, “It’s a really amazing opportunity to have, especially so early in my career…I’m really excited to meet all the other performers that are doing the exact same thing that we are all passionate about.”
One of Rodriguez’s goals is to do local musical theater and perform on stage and possibly tour. After he graduates with his associate’s, he would like to pursue his bachelor’s degree at Texas State University.
Cristina Esquivel, another finalist, said that this opportunity was unexpected. She had only done a musical in middle school. When she started at Palo Alto College, she auditioned for a show called “Cabaret” and received a call back.
Esquivel was the last one to check her email to see if she was accepted for the honors program.
“It was kind of like a shutdown moment to process…we’re all in. I just started crying,” she said.
One of Esquivel’s goals is to be able to share her love of the arts with people and win an Oscar for her performance.
The program comes with a package that includes all the rehearsals, equipment, sheet music, production, hotel rooms, transportation, sightseeing and traveler insurance. It costs $2,199 per student. The package does not include the flight to Australia or spending money.
The students have been working together on ways they can raise money for the packages and flights. The deadline for payments is June 7, 2019.