A lifetime of dedication

Senior+Claire+Tendl+performs+on+Oct.+15+at+the+chorus+programs+Fall+Masterworks+Concert.

photo by Jake Arthur

Senior Claire Tendl performs on Oct. 15 at the chorus programs Fall Masterworks Concert.

Senior Claire Tendl is known as many things, the most well-known being Homecoming Queen and Unleashed Dancer. What people do not know is that Tendl is also an opera singer.

Since a young age, Tendl was singing anything she could get her hands on. At 5 years old, with no sign of Tendl’s love of singing ending, her mother suggested auditioning for some local musical theater productions, Tendl’s first introduction to the stage. Tendl starred in Cinderella the musical and never stopped.

As her voice matured, Tendl began to enroll in voice lessons. In middle school, she started working with private instructor Tamara Molloy for musical theater. Molloy began to notice the potential in Tendl’s voice for something more: classical music. As Molloy became more familiar with her, she began to suggest some differently styled music for Tendl to listen to, music which began to grow on her.

It’s different, it’s unique, it’s amazing.”

“At first, I was like, ‘What is this? I’m not singing this,’” Tendl said.

After time and a lot of nurturing, the classical, operatic style became Tendl’s favorite. The freedom and complexity of the music drew Tendl in. The difference of the style from the traditional pop songs with their three-chord sequences gave Tendl that chance to musically grow and change within just one song.

“I love that the classical style is timeless and can connect us all,” Tendl said. “It’s so intricate.”

To devote the appropriate amount of time to each song, Tendl has a sequence of steps that she uses for any piece of music she picks up. These steps give her a chance to analyze and develop the key parts of classical singing: musical effect, technical preparation and tone quality.

“I act like it’s easy and that it’s nothing, but it’s really a lot of work,” Tendl said.
As soon as she decides on the song, Tendl learns it through her favorite singers on YouTube to get the general melody and flow. Tendl will then continue with preparing the song through traditional methods: learn the notes, decide on the musical styling and prepare the stage performance.

Tendl has also attended summer camps aimed at helping her perfect her repertoire.

Tendl’s favorite summer program was Curtis Summerfest’s Young Artist Summer Program, an exclusive, audition based, three-week intensive course. It was hosted at the Curtis Institute of Music, a top level music college, and Tendl attended the past two summers. She sat in master classes ranging from soloist, operatic-style singing to music history. Tendl was also able to collaborate on opera scenes that would be performed throughout the duration of the program.

“I was able to meet a ton of other people with the same interest and devotion as me,” Tendl said.

As well as Curtis, Tendl attended Florida State University’s Choral Ensemble Camp this summer and, after an audition, was selected to participate in the Honors recital with other singers at an additional concert.

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Claire Tendl sings "Kling!" by Richard Georg Strauss at the Curtis Summerfest.
Video provided by Claire Tendl

Aside from summer camps, another big part of a singer’s year is Solo and Ensemble, organized by the Florida Vocal Association. This is a state-wide opportunity for singers in their school’s chorus program to prepare songs for a performance in front of a judge.

In previous years, Tendl has performed both classical solos and duets along with her choral class’s ensemble at the district level. This gave Tendl a chance to receive helpful critiques on how to improve her songs for a performance. For the performances where she earned a Superior, Tendl advanced to the state level which had more highly trained judges and the chance to perform at a recital. All of the songs Tendl has performed at Solo and Ensemble have been added to her repertoire with her opera songs.

With dreams of becoming an opera singer at an opera house and, eventually, travelling across the world singing in different conservatories, Tendl is getting as much experience as she can. With plans to audition at Curtis, Tendl hopes to get her Bachelors in Vocal Performance and then get her Master’s in Opera Studies.

“I love to [sing] and I want to continue to for the rest of my life,” Tendl said. “With singing, I can influence people and touch them with the music, making a difference in a way that other professions can’t.”

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