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​SU student musician studies opera in Italy

​SU student musician studies opera in Italy

Bryant Harris spent three weeks in Italy studying Italian music over the summer at the Italian-American Vocal Operatic Program for Young Americans. 

The Southern University junior was one of three students from the United States to participate in the program that allows American students to travel to Italy to learn the culture and to get a gist of the music and scenery of the country. The program involved students taking a master class taught by local Italian professors and professional singers. It is funded by the Italian government, which invites and encourages young Americans to study Italian vocal music (primarily opera) for three weeks. 

“I basically toured the city and on certain days I took on master classes where I learned the music or I took over singing the music,” said Harris, a music major.  “It was my first time out of the country. But it was great and I would go back. The food was real good and everything is beautiful.”

Harris who studies voice, but is officially a trumpet major, learned about the opportunity and held his audition all in one afternoon while hanging out downtown Baton Rouge. It was an impromptu audition when Harris met the gentleman that was over the program, Antonio Moretti. 

“We started talking about the vocal aspect of music and about Italian music. I mentioned that I sing Italian opera, such as Madamina from Don Giovanni. He wanted to hear me sing so I sung the first section of the song,” said Harris. The next thing Harris knew he was being offered the opportunity to go to Italy to display his talents and to learn about the Italian culture and language. 

Being able to be a part of this program was about leaving the United States and learning a more diverse culture said Harris. “From a musical aspect, I got the basis of how to further project myself as a musician and how to use my musical talent and figure out how can I expand my music further and push myself pass the boundary of the walls that were built behind all musicians. That is a challenge. Some musicians like to stay in their comfort zone in music and never really go outside of that and expand and travel to see what they can do outside their comfort zone,” said Harris.

“This opportunity provides an impact on the University in that Southern has been talked about for many things like the football team, the Band, however the music department, the choir, the jazz band, you don’t really hear about it when Southern is mentioned,” said Harris. 

Harris said that he hopes more people will recognize the music department and the potential that is there. He would like to see the music department grow as a whole so that others can migrate and learn the joys of what it is like to embrace yourself in music and be a musician, said Harris. 

The Chicago native came to Southern in 2013 as a trumpet player for the Southern University Marching Band. He marched for two years with the ‘Human Jukebox’ before discovering his singing voice. He also decided to focus more of his time on his academics. 

“When I first got here my mindset wasn’t fully developed as it is today. When I first came I was scared, and shy on the aspect of new city and state. I kept to myself. After awhile, the city, the people, the culture started to grow on me and now I have this new developed mindset that anything comes about I am ready for it, “ said Harris.

Harris suggest for any one who would like to make experiences like his a reality, “just work and craft and focus more on the things that got you to the point you are at right now and take that and expand that to a further aspect of life and expand your thinking and knowledge of the real world and what it has to offer.”

By Southern University Media Relations

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