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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Talented Cumbrian singer sets sights on opera career

A talented singer has brushed aside plans to become a doctor to fulfil a dream of hitting the high notes as an opera star.

Kathryn Jones photo
Kathryn Jones

Good grades in science suggested a career in medicine would be the most obvious choice for Kathryn Jones.

But when she found herself spending days on end in the drama and music department at William Howard School in Brampton, her heart began to tell her otherwise.

Now 20, she has embarked on a career as an opera singer, one which will hopefully push her to the front of the world’s most famous stages.

A student at the University of Cumbria, Kathryn will next year start the third and final year of her course on joint honours in drama and musical theatre.

But she was recently given a taste of the big time when accepted to a summer course with the Dorset Opera Company.

Kathryn, who lives in Hallbankgate, has admitted that to succeed she must be very disciplined and that the industry can be tough, but said: “You have to follow your dreams and do what you believe in. It will be a difficult journey but hopefully it will be worth it.”

She said: “I have always loved singing. I was taught music at William Howard by Janette Kipling, who was excellent. My favourite operas are Aida and The Marriage of Figaro.”

Kathryn added: “There was a time when I thought that because I love science I would pursue a career in medicine. But I was spending so much time in the music department and realised singing was my true passion.

“And if you can find something you love to do, you should do it.”

Kathryn also got involved with the Brampton Players and local choirs before beginning her studies at the university. The singer became aware of a summer programme at the Dorset Opera Company while performing in a production of The Merry Widow at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.

She contacted the company and was accepted on the course, but then had to set about raising the £700 needed to pay for the experience.

She managed to secure funding in grants with help from Brampton parish council, Brampton and District Neighbourhood Forum, the Lonsdale Trust and Dorset Opera Bursary Committee.

From the moment she arrived in Dorset, Kathryn was thrown into 10 days of intensive training ending in four performances of Carmen.

She said: “We were rehearsing from 9am to 9pm, it was really intense. I had to hit the ground running but I loved it.

“It was great to be surrounded by people who were so passionate about classical singing.”

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