While part of the Augusta Children’s Chorale in 2011, Samantha Grubbs had a unique opportunity that would shape her plans.
“The Augusta Opera was performing Puccini’s Suor Angelica and needed a children angel choir. I was chosen to be one of them. It was the first opera I’d ever seen, and since we didn’t sing until the end, I could really enjoy watching the whole thing,” said Grubbs, an Evans High School senior who is the first recipient of the Augusta Opera Award, a $4,000 scholarship to attend Georgia Regents University as a vocal music major interested in pursuing a career in opera.
Since that initial experience with opera, Grubbs has learned more about the musical form, which led her to the decision to study it at GRU.
“I like the emotion they have with singing a song and the power it takes,” she said. “I enjoy the challenge of it.”
The award was announced at the beginning of the Never Walk Alone concert featuring Cynthia Lawrence and Mark Calkins at the GRU Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre on April 19. The concert raised money for the GRU Cancer Center as well as highlighted the newly founded American Opera and Musical Theater Institute at GRU.
“As administrative director for the AOMT Institute, I am very pleased that Samantha has accepted our offer and will be attending GRU this fall. She is a unique talent, gifted with a big beautiful rich voice and we are looking forward to having her here as a member of the Institute,” wrote Tonya Currier in an email.
Grubbs has always enjoyed singing. She spent five years with the Augusta Children’s Chorale and is a member of the Evans High School advanced women’s choir; however, having a “big” voice as Currier described it sometimes makes it difficult to blend in well with choruses.
“I have a really big voice, and I never fit in with choirs,” she said. “I guess I’m more of a soloist.”
The American Opera and Musical Theater Institute at GRU brings together three departments – the Department of Music, the Department of Otolaryngology and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science – to train students who wish to pursue musical theater or opera careers.