Ending its 60th season with a visit to the Great White Way, the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra will present "Bravo Broadway," its annual Percival Lowell Concert, this Friday night in Ardrey Auditorium.
The Broadway offering during the last season was an enormous hit, and this time a special touch will be added by Kresley Figueroa, 13, an eighth-grader at Northland Preparatory Academy, who will be singing with the lead performers, Broadway singers Hugh Panaro and Jodi Benson.
The Master Chorale of Flagstaff is also featured in the concert, which will include a number of Broadway hits such as "I Got Rhythm," "Circle of Life" and "Music of the Night."
A CAREER IN OPERA
Kresley was selected by the FSO conductor, Elizabeth Schulze, and a panel of judges to perform a few numbers on stage, including a solo in the second act.
The young star said she isn't nervous yet, but will be soon.
"I have performed many times, so it's not a brand-new thing," she said. "The experience is always great, just to get out there and sing for whoever will listen."
Kresley, a soprano, said she started her formal vocal study when she was 10 and has also taken piano lessons for years.
Born in San Luis, Puerto Rico, where her father, Harold Figueroa, was born, she moved with her family to Flagstaff when she was about 3.
Kresley has two older brothers and much family support.
"Oh my gosh, we're bursting with pride," said her mother, Diana Galindo. "We are just thrilled that she loves this so much and that these opportunities are coming her way."
In addition to general courses at NPA, she is taking a diction for singers class at NAU.
"Right now, I just am trying to learn as much as I can," she said.
Kresley, who plans an operatic career, is the recipient of a summer 2010 opera program scholarship to Italy.
"I feel opera has a more genuine quality to it," the young singer said. "I don't know, I just really love it.'
TWO SPARKLING CAREERS
This is Panaro's second year performing with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. The tenor has the distinction of playing both Raoul and the Phantom in the Broadway production of "The Phantom of the Opera." Other Panaro career highlights include "Les Miserables," "Show Boat" and "Wuthering Heights."
Benson is best known for providing the voice for Disney's princess Ariel in "The Little Mermaid." She has also performed in the Broadway musical "Smile," and won a Tony Award for her role in "Crazy For You."
The Lowell concert each season is dedicated to the memory of Percival Lowell, who established an observatory in 1894 atop Mars Hill overlooking Flagstaff.
Today, his observatory continues its contributions not only to an understanding of the cosmos, but also to the quality of life here.
Betsey Bruner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 556-2255.