Baritone secures singing scholarship
‘‘I wasn’t particularly musical to begin with, but somewhere along the way I came across this fun-loving, zany, risktaking environment that was the music department.’’
Performing did not always come naturally for young Wellington opera singer Ben Reason.
The 20-year-old former Onslow College student has recently been awarded a scholarship to study singing at London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
While he has worked as a freelance vocalist since he left high school three years ago, he says his desire to be on stage was not a lifelong aspiration.
‘‘I wasn’t particularly musical to begin with, but somewhere along the way I came across this fun-loving, zany, risk-taking environment that was the music department.’’
He credits his teacher, Onslow College’s co-head of music Justin Pearce, with sparking his interest.
‘‘You follow your mentors and the interests of the people who show you what’s out there. It just suited me and I love the music.’’
Reason says the feeling he got when he stepped out into the lights for the first time has stayed with him.
‘‘I know once I’m out on stage and I’m looking the audience in the eye, I’m having a conversation with someone.
‘‘All it’s down to then is that emotional narrative with an audience, and hopefully they can con- nect to it. If they believe what you’re singing, that emotion will carry on to them and for me that’s an incredibly special moment. That’s why I do it.’’
The class will host about 15 people from across the globe, but Reason, a baritone, believes he is the only person selected from the southern hemisphere.
His future qualification, a Bachelor of Music with Honours, encompasses vocal performance, stage craft and musicianship. Classes start in September.
Despite the fact he will soon leave the country for four years, Reason says he cannot see himself staying away for long. ‘‘This is where I belong.’’ Reason hopes his passion for opera will inspire other young people to take it up.
‘‘People feel it may be a pretentious, inaccessible thing which isn’t meant for them, or that it’s meant for people of a higher class. But it’s a base emotive language, anyone can communicate with that.’’
Reason is hosting a fundraiser concert on Sunday, July 30, at St Andrew’s on the Terrace at 7pm. Koha. Donations can also be made at boosted.org.nz/projects/bensings-at-guildhall.
Ben Reason Wellington singer Ben Reason is off to study opera at London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.