Baritone Robert Reyna of Harlingen, a senior vocal performance major at the University of Texas at Brownsville, has had an extraordinary spring semester and is poised to have an exceptional experience this summer at the Cornish-American Song Institute.
“The invitation was such a surprise; I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity,” said Reyna, who graduated from Harlingen High School. “I know I will be representing UTB to an international audience, and I will do my best on behalf of my fellow students and our amazing professors, Dr. Daniel Hunter-Holly and Dr. Nicole Asel.”
Reyna’s invitation to the Cornish-American Song Institute came as a result of his superb showing at the South Texas Chapter Competition of the National Association for Teachers of Singing in April. With talented competitors from schools such as the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, Texas State University and the University of the Incarnate Word, Reyna took first prize in his division.
In January, Reyna’s semester began with a trip to New York City with Department of Music faculty and two other students to compete in the National Opera Association’s Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition; the trio was successful in bringing home the third place prize.
In February, he gave a remarkable performance for his junior degree recital, featuring works by Henry Purcell, Robert Schumann, Maurice Ravel and Paolo Tosti.
Throughout the month of March, Reyna rehearsed for his leading role as Papageno in UTB Bravo Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte — The Magic Flute — that was held on April 25 and April 27.
It was in April, at the South Texas Chapter Competition of the National Association for Teachers of Singing held at Texas State University in San Marcos, where one of the judges was so impressed with Reyna’s singing that he invited Reyna to attend the Cornish-American Song Institute.
The Cornish-American Song Institute is located Falmouth, on the southern coast of England’s Cornwall County. Falmouth is known for its charming villages and picturesque inlets that dot the English Channel coastline.
“I’ve never been beyond New York City, when we were there for the competition in January,” Reyna said. “Seeing the beautiful photos of Falmouth, and thinking about flying over the Atlantic for the first time is really exciting.”
During the three-week program, students at the Institute will also spend part of their time in Oxford; this year’s program will focus on the texts of William Shakespeare.
“I know this experience will broaden my abilities as a singer,” Reyna said. “Being among others who are stretching their talents, like I am trying to do, will be such a positive environment. I feel certain the institute will challenge us to go beyond what we imagine we are capable of, and we students will be great supporters of one another.”
To help cover the cost of the program and travel to England, Reyna will present a fundraising recital at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 4 at Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church in Harlingen. He will perform a mixed program, featuring selections from his February recital, The Magic Flute, the songs he sang in the NATS competition and some musical theater favorites.
Donations for the recital will be accepted at Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church is located at 2120 N. Ed Carey Drive in Harlingen. For more information, call 956-882-7178.