RIO GRANDE — One University of Rio Grande graduate found her first job to the south of the border, recently returned to her alma mater to share her experience performing opera in another country.
Aryn Gritter of Commercial Point, Ohio, graduated from Rio Grande last May with a bachelor’s degree in music comprehensive. This summer, she auditioned for a position with Opera Guadalajara. Gritter said she was excited to learn she would spend two and a half weeks in July performing in Mexico.
“It was really unexpected and awesome to be hired for this right out of college. My vocal coach helped me find the job. It was meant to be my chance to see what it would be like to audition. I was really excited about the results,” Gritter said. “When I was called back and offered a part, there were a lot of tears and a lot of shock. It was amazing to realize something I put work into was actually going to happen.”
Opera Guadalajara is a company based out of Guadalajara, Mexico, run by Manuel Castillo. Gritter said she had to adjust to the culture, but loved her experience with Opera Guadalajara. The group performed in different locations around the city of Guadalajara including two catholic chapels.
“Guadalajara was really different. They do have a lot of the same things we have here in the United States, but it’s still a different culture and a different dynamic. It was one thing being here in the states rehearsing for it, but then going and being in the environment was amazing,” Gritter said. “The opera we preformed is about nuns, so being in the chapels created an environment that gave us a better idea of what it would have been like to be them.”
Gritter shared her experiences last Sunday through Thinking of Me: Revisiting Rio, a concert featuring the performer, with special appearances by the University of Rio Grande’s Grande Chorale and Mastwerworks Chorale. Gritter’s performance also included a slideshow presentation highlighting her time with Opera Guadalajara.
The performance took place in the John W. Berry Fine and Performing Arts Center at Rio Grande.
“We’re very proud of Aryn and her success. It’s a great for her and for the university as a whole. It’s neat for our students to see the success of a recent graduate,” said Dr. Sarin Williams, assistant professor, director of choral activities at Rio Grande and the Grande Chorale conductor. “I think Aryn’s experience in Mexico was very impactful and I look forward to hearing her talk about the real life nature of what she’s doing. I hope she continues to do more wonderful things in the future with her degree.”
Williams said she was excited for the students to hear about Gritter’s first professional performance and is glad they had a chance to communicate with a recent graduate about life after college.
“I think it’s good for the community to see success stories of former students who have had great experiences and started out on their chosen career,” Williams said. “It’s also great for our current students. Hearing those real world experiences from graduates can be so impactful because these graduates are closer to their own ages.”
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist with the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.