As a child in highschool, Justin Ramm-Damron had a good time appearing in a small rock band at Cal Expo all through the state truthful—making a song Johnny Money songs whilst taking part in bass guitar.
Simple to consider his deep voice churning out renditions of “I Stroll the Line” or “Ring of Hearth,” however this present day, that very same voice is wrapped up in opera slightly than nation or rock.
Justin is lately a senior majoring in vocal efficiency at UC Sacramento — a super position for him to ply his abilities. In consequence, he is earned key roles in numerous of Sac State’s Opera Theatre productions, together with a pestered previous physician in Donizetti’s comedian opera Il Campanello (The Evening Bell) again in Would possibly, and maximum lately, this previous Sunday, Dec. 2, appearing scenes from every other Donizetti opera, Don Pasquale, in addition to Mozart’s opera Cosi fan tutte.
Ever since he entered Sac State in 2015, Justin has studied privately with voice professor Robin Fisher, who has lauded him with reward, writing in a reference letter, “Justin is among the maximum spectacular younger vocal abilities that I’ve encountered in my 24 years of college educating,” and occurring to mention, “I’m struck through the sheer great thing about Justin’s sizeable voice.”
Sharing Dr. Fisher’s enthusiasm, Song within the Mountains decided on Justin because the winner of the 2018 Lucy Becker Memorial Scholarship — a $1,500 talent-based award given every year to an aspiring younger singer. The judges at his audition in April known him for his wealthy bass voice, his talent to sing contrasting classical items, and his transparent sense of course relating to his musical research.
Whilst Justin’s mother gave him a tiny toy wood guitar when he was once 3, he waited until he was once nine to leap into classes. He started taking part in brass tools in heart college, beginning with trombone in fourth grade and later including tuba and euphonium. At Oak Ridge Prime College in El Dorado Hills, his primary musical center of attention was once the Jazz Band, even supposing he additionally performed within the Marching Band and a wind ensemble, and sang in a few choirs — chamber and a cappella.
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All over maximum of highschool, brass took middle degree — till senior yr when voice took over. An increasing number of, he liked to sing, and he evolved a powerful pastime in opera, particularly Italian opera with shifting melodies through Puccini, Verdi and Bellini. Sheepishly, he admits in his previous years, when he considered opera, he pictured Viking helmets. Standard parodies of folks shrieking on degree and dressed in ridiculous outfits.
Up to now in his profession, Justin has have shyed away from dressed in a helmet — winged, horned or differently, however he is already donned an collection of wigs with excellent explanation why. In Italian and French operas, tenors historically sing the younger, romantic roles, whilst basses are much more likely to play lecherous previous males or aged father figures — disguises steadily calling for lengthy grey hair and perhaps furry eyebrows. Justin at 21 jokingly accepts his destiny, even though he has to play anyone 3 or 4 instances his age. Or even though he has to play a median man or a villain.
During the last couple of years Justin has feasted on opera, dreaming up techniques to look as many productions as imaginable. When he and his excellent buddy Walter Aldrich, the 2014 winner of Lucy’s scholarship, had been in New York Town previous this yr, they went to 4 other operas on the Met within the span of 3 days. Upload to that feat, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, Opera San Jose again in California, and naturally the San Francisco Opera, reached through jumping right into a automobile after categories along side different Sac State vocal scholars and heading to a night efficiency.
Past these kinds of productions, Justin attended a prestigious summer season institute at Northwestern College final June, becoming a member of a program referred to as The Bare Voice, which permitted handiest 10 scholars national. There, singers attended personal classes, grasp categories and appearing categories, with the objective of stripping away subconscious dangerous conduct, with a bit of luck making improvements to their vocal ways earlier than the conduct become too deeply ingrained.
Justin is the 8th recipient of the scholarship that honors the reminiscence of lyric soprano Lucy Becker, who was once a featured soloist with Song within the Mountains for a few years. Prior to now, scholarship winners have carried out all through considered one of MIM’s common SummerFest systems, however since Justin was once at Northwestern all through the run of the competition, he as an alternative will carry out and be formally known at MIM’s Glad Vacations live performance this Saturday, Dec. 8, within the Amaral Heart on the Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.
To focus on his versatility, he’ll sing two contrasting items—an aria from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, and a funny pop quantity from a Dr. Seuss film: You are a Imply One Mr. Grinch. No helmet, no wig. Simply himself making a song in live performance. A time to exhibit his skillability amidst a complete program of vacation song that includes the MIM Refrain and Vacation Orchestra.
Julie Becker is the sister of Lucy Becker and is helping to supervise the once a year scholarship.
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