Hey Everybody!!! Again sorry for the delay in blogging, but I have been doing so much that this blog has sort of been in the back of my mind. But I am here now to talk about my wonderful experience in Italy I had over the summer. I was in Italy studying Italian Opera for a month in Florence with a group called the Bel Canto Institute. This is a worldwide program, in which six kids are selected to participate to study Italian opera for a month.

Now I didn’t just study Italian Opera. Oh no. I studied the entire Italian culture. Everyday I had Italian language lessons from a local Italian teacher from 8:30 in the morning to 10:00. After that, I had voice lessons and vocal coachings throughout the day, until 1 o'clock when I had a performance class. In this performance class, we performed pieces that were previously assigned to us before the program started. We performed them for the other people in the program and for the director of the program who would give us feedback and make our voices and the songs better as well. The director of the program was named Maestro Jane Klaviter. She just retired from being the assistant director at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and she knew very famous composers such as Giacomo Pucini. It was truly an honor to work with her, and I am so grateful for the experience.

I learned so much while I was in Italy, but also made lifelong connections with some people I will never forget. I mean this in the sense of both teachers and fellow students. Luca Pucini, a tenor like me, who I unfortunately did not study with, but who I have connected with after the program finished, Nicolleta Maggino, my voice teacher, and Maestro Di Leo, my voice coach. All of these people helped my voice to grow and mature leaps and bounds from where it was before I went to Italy. I am so grateful and thankful for them and the wisdom they imparted to me about my voice, and what they taught me about singing.

My roommates were also people who I will never forget. Sophia Strang, and Astrid Westburg truly changed my life. I really believe that they will be my friends forever. The times we had, at the dinner table, at performance class, and around the city when we had time to explore was a big part of the amazing time I had. Every day, we would go into makeup stores, women clothing stores with the other people in the program (who made an equal if not bigger impact on my life), and it was the best experience of my life. I never thought looking at dresses and blouses would be so entertaining, but that was what this trip was all about: discovering different things about myself.

This trip made me find myself. I came back to the states a different person, and I have all of these people listed above along with MORE people than I could ever list!!! I am so thankful for this experience and I hope that I can keep in contact with everyone I met!!

That was a long one, but be prepared for my next blog when I talk about my reaching out to NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!

Bye for now!!!

Colin Miller