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FGCU student to study opera in Italy

Photo courtesy of James Greco
From serving as a senator in Student Government to being an active founding member of FGCU’s newest fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega, senior vocal performance major Bradley Berry is well known around campus. What he is better known for, however, is his love of opera.
Berry started singing opera when he was 13, when he began receiving private voice lessons in the bel canto style, an Italian-originated form of opera. Berry continued his opera career into high school, participating in chorus. These experiences encouraged him to continue singing into college.
“It was only natural, with the immense help from my high school choral director, that I strived for a vocal degree in college,” Berry said.
Berry’s dedication to the craft has brought him to Europe in the past. Two years ago, he traveled to France with the help of a study abroad grant. Participating in this program inspired him to apply to the International Young Artists Project in August 2016 – for an opportunity to study opera in Italy.
“I have had such a drive to go back to Europe and share my passion for opera,” Berry said.
Berry found out that he would be returning to Europe, this time in the country where opera was born hundreds of years ago, on Thursday, Dec. 15 over winter break.
Berry will be spending summer 2017 in Monte San Savino, Italy through IYAP, a program that allows students to train and perform in three vocal genres: opera, art song and musical theater. Students will also have several opportunities to travel to several historically significant locations in Italy. These opportunities include a day trip to Florence, a day trip to the cities of San Gimignano and Siena, an opportunity to attend jazz concerts in Perugia, wine tasting in Montalcino, and cooking classes in Tuscan cuisine.
“I am looking forward to immersing myself in the culture of Italy,” Berry said. “The history and language has always been something that I’ve been very interested in. Many classical composers and opera stars have had their start in Italy and I am so honored to have the opportunity to study in their footsteps.”
Students participating in the program will live in hotels that are within walking distance to the school of music and performance venues during the duration of their stay in Monte San Savino.
SG secretary Jalisa White and close friend of Berry is excited to see his hard work pay off.
“He is an excellent musician and I believe this trip will give him opportunities to network and meet other people in a brand new country,” White said. “Not only is this a great opportunity for music, but it will allow him to experience new cultures and step outside his comfort zone.”
White believes that it’s important for students to take opportunities like this one because college is about more than being in a classroom.
“It is about exploring new places, meeting new people, getting involved and making yourself a well- rounded person,” White said.
White said that participating in experiences like the one that Berry will partake in opens many doors for students, allowing them to continue their education by having opportunities to go to graduate school and even begin a career.
Berry also pushed himself to apply to study abroad by listening to the regrets of those around him who have since graduated from college.
“Opportunities like these are once in a lifetime,” Berry said. “I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say, ‘back in college I wish I would have studied abroad,’” Berry said. “It is truly one of the most eye-opening experiences you’ll ever have and I would strongly encourage anyone to take the opportunity when it comes their way.”
Berry is hoping to bring back new vocal techniques to the Bower School of Music to share with his peers.
“It is always amazing to learn how different individuals approach the training of the voice,” Berry said. “I think by me having this opportunity I will be able to not only (help) myself but also my colleagues here at FGCU.”

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