By: Lexi Zabel
Konnor Chase, a Vocal Performance major at Graceland University, recently turned his dreams into a reality. Chase was chosen from a group of thousands of international students who auditioned to travel to Italy to expand his live performance experience. While in Italy, he will also have the chance to use his gift of music to make connections with many different people. Beginning on June 17th, with the generosity of a scholarship through La Musica Lirica, Chase gets the opportunity of a lifetime to fly on a plane for the first time ever for his passion. He will have the chance to be in roles of three different operas, perform by himself every week, and attend masterclasses, professional voice lessons, and coaching sessions. While in Italy for five weeks, Chase also gets two hours a day to work on his Italian language in hopes of being fluent when he arrives back in the United States. On top of deepening his education in both music and language, Chase is looking forward to being able to “tour the country on the last week and see what life is like outside of the U.S.” Along with feelings of excitement and eagerness, Chase feels very fortunate and grateful about this new journey he is getting ready to experience.
Although Chase is the one who gets the privilege to see Italy in person, he is not the only one who will benefit from this amazing experience. Dr. Sara Blessing, Graceland’s choir teacher, has known Chase for many years and is overjoyed and proud of him for earning this opportunity that will “open the door to many experiences like it.” Blessing explains that Chase has spent many years studying and learning several aspects of the Italian music world, and now he gets to travel thousands of miles from home to experience everything he’s learned in the Italian culture. Along with this, Blessing also expresses the importance and excitement of Chase getting to work with people he has never met from all around the world, and how this chance is “so rewarding because of the connections he may build that could completely change the trajectory of his life in a positive way.” Chase’s time in Italy will not just have an ever-lasting impact on his life, but also the life of Blessing and his fellow choir members by bringing back a stronger sense of who he is as a vocalist and being able to be a leader and a role model to Graceland’s choir and everyone around him.
Along with Blessing being beyond proud of Chase for his accomplishments, his fellow choir members are so happy for him as well and feel as though he deserves every bit of this special experience. Jullie Wheaton, a choir member and friend of Chase, says, “He works extremely hard to become a better performer and musician, hence why he took this step to improve. Konnor is one of my very special friends and I do look up to him!” Along with this another member, Rylee Zimmerman, explains, “He has been a great mentor and someone to look up to as a freshman who is still learning the ropes of choir.” Overall, Chase is admired by many, and this opportunity will help him to shine his talent even more.