Teen’s love for opera grows

Published 10:13 pm Monday, February 5, 2018

Kennedy Stone has to balance her schoolwork at King’s Fork High School and additional studies at the Governor’s School of the Arts, and now she is adding even more responsibility to her plate.

The junior at King’s Fork was selected with 12 other young ladies from the Tidewater area to participate with the Virginia Opera in its upcoming performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Stone is an understudy to one of the fairy characters.

“It was definitely a great opportunity, and I am so honored to be a part of this,” Stone said. “It’s given me an inside look to what my career might be like if I work hard enough.”

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Being a part of the opera company is a large responsibility. The teens participating are treated the same as the professionals, and they have to abide by the same rules and conditions, according to GSA Vocal Music Director Alan Fisher.

Kennedy Stone (Submitted Photo)

Stone has managed to handle the intense schedule with some ease. She admits the difficulties of balancing everything, but she is dedicated to making it work. Her drive and determination has not gone unnoticed.

“She’s a go-getter, and I like that she wants this and she wants it hard,” Fisher said. “She wants me to know that she’s really working hard, and that’s a great attitude for me to see. Drive and desire to do well is just as important to succeed in this career.”

Stone’s first introduction to opera happened during her time at the Governor’s School for the Arts, and in two years her love for the art has continued to grow. She has participated in multiple productions at GSA and at workshops for opera.

Stone’s mother praises Suffolk Public Schools for having the partnership with GSA that gave her daughter the opportunity to prepare for a collegiate and professional career in vocal performance.

“It is truly a family and community effort to help her becoming exceedingly successful in her desire to have a career in music,” Dorthea Stone said. “I know that it has exposed her to the wonderful and exciting opportunities in opera. While they are there, they have to adhere to the professional schedule. It’s just made her love grow even more.”

While opera has become the main focus in recent years, Stone has been singing for a majority of her life. She has been taking singing lessons since she was 12, her mother said.

“I think I definitely want to keep opera in my life,” Kennedy Stone said. “I want to go to college for vocal performance. I think I can make a career out of this.”

Stone has been looking at Virginia Commonwealth University and James Madison University to continue her vocal education.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will appear at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk on Feb. 9, Feb. 11 and Feb. 13. The production has four other dates set in Fairfax and Richmond.