Holland College opera student accepted to Spain’s Berklee Conservatory
Victor y Mayor stood under a bright spotlight. All eyes were on him in a lavish theatre in Liege, Belgium.
When he began to sing, the audience melted away.
It didn’t matter he was in a foreign country. His music was connecting them.
If the audience loves Mayor’s music, he feels the connection, he said.
“Regardless of who they are, what they wear, or what they do for a living, they’re still people who are going to enjoy my music.”
The audience were French, Italian, some could have been German, he said.
“But it’s all just sounds that becomes music.”
His first time performing was frightening but once he starts singing he becomes someone else, said Mayor.
“Once I was under that spotlight, I crossed that line that I don’t feel nervous anymore.”
That was his first time performing for a huge audience. He had been hired by a French company to tour Belgium, Netherlands and France to sing opera.
The international student from Mexico had just finished his first year of music performance at Holland College’s School of Performing Arts (SOPA).
Mayor is the only student studying opera there because the music performance program focuses on contemporary and jazz music.
Opera education was even harder to find in his city in Mexico, he said.
“There is opera but it’s very hermetic. You can only find it in some circles.”
He was musical from a young age but it wasn’t until his first year of high school that he started singing opera. Mayor began singing jazz and pop music as a hobby, he said.
“Then, it evolved to opera, more classic.”
He began as a baritone with a vocal range between tenor and bass, one of the lowest ranges. Now, his range is a mezzo-soprano, or a countertenor, which is a man who can sing in a woman’s register, he said.
“I ventured to try to sing higher and higher and I realized I could do it.”
He improved his vocal techniques and his confidence during those performances in Europe.
Since returning to school for his second year, he has found the course easier, especially the showcases, he said.
“I sit with different eyes. I don’t get frightened, I know what is happening.”
The SOPA program is part of the Berklee International Network. Students who graduate from the program can complete a pathway with Berklee College of Music.
The college, however, doesn’t provide opera courses in its main institution in Boston. That’s why Mayor applied to Berklee’s Opera Intensive Training Course at the Berklee Conservatory in Valencia, Spain.
It’s a three-week program that includes private vocal lessons, classes on the various aspects of the opera business and opportunities to perform. The program will end with an individual recording session of professionally produced songs and arias.
Mayor applied in February and was one of 15 students accepted. He’s honoured to represent Holland College, Mexico and his program, he said.
“No student has been accepted to that conservatory yet. I’m the first one.”
Jennifer Cullen, his opera instructor, began teaching him his second year in the music performance program.
She said she can imagine him singing on stages across Europe after he finishes at Holland College.
“He is one of the most musical students I’ve ever met.”
After his last time in Europe, she knows that this training course will help him improve even more by being around people of his kind, said Cullen.
“He’s going to come back an even better performer.”
Mayor has created a GoFundMe page to raise the $5,000 he needs to pay for the course, transportation and other essentials.
Everyone who donates will receive a special recording of Mayor’s singing. He wants to give back to those who support him, said Mayor.
“It’s like a present, it’s my way of saying thank you.”
To help Victor raise money for his course, you can go to his GoFundMe