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Whitworth Alumna to Make New York Opera Debut

Years of hard work and diligent preparation have led Whitworth alumna and opera singer Heather Steckler-Parker, class of '96, to realize her dream to perform at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. As the second-place winner of the 2002 Licia Albanese--Puccini Foundation International Voice Competition, Steckler-Parker will travel to New York in November to perform in the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.

"Singing at Lincoln Center is an opera singer's dream," Steckler-Parker says. "It will be a fun, exciting, nerve-wracking experience."

The Albanese-Puccini competition was founded by renowned lyric soprano Licia Albanese to support and encourage young singers who are launching professional singing careers. Thirty semi-finalists were selected from two hundred international vocalists during the weeklong competition, and Steckler-Parker, a soprano, was selected as one of the top three finalists. In addition to performing in the Lincoln Center, Steckler-Parker will receive a $3,000 prize along with expert coaching in master classes while she is in New York.

Steckler-Parker, who majored in vocal performance at Whitworth and studied at the Eastman School of Music in New York, is currently performing with Opera North in New Hampshire and has performed in a variety of opera venues throughout the country. Her recent appearances include several in Spokane, where she performed in the Spokane Opera's Diamonds and Diva's Holiday Gala as well as in the operas "Daughter of the Regiment" and "La Boheme."

Steckler-Parker credits Whitworth Vocal Instructor Marjory Halvorson for helping her to develop her skills and career aspirations.

"It's important to have someone to believe in you, to push for you," Steckler-Parker says. "Marge told me ‘You have what it takes. You will have to work hard and it's a long road ahead.' If it weren't for Marge, I wouldn't be where I am today."

Performing in local productions while she attended Whitworth also helped Steckler-Parker prepare for a career in the competitive world of opera. She cites several Spokane venues, including the Spokane Opera, as wonderful showcases for aspiring singers.

This fall Steckler-Parker will join the Seattle Opera as a Young Artist and will sing the role of Musetta in the 2003 production of Puccini's "La Boheme." She will take a temporary leave of absence in November to travel to New York for her debut in Alice Tully Hall.

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