By: Morgan Brizee
Friends and family know her as Flicka, but on stage she is Frederica von Stade.
When von Stade was just five years old she fell in love with singing, so much so that when she graduated high school she went to Mannes College of Music. Fast forward to 1970 when she auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, which was her first big performance.
“I fell in love with opera because I wanted to do Broadway,” said von Stade.
Since that first audition in 1970 she has made more than 60 recordings, done multiple musicals, and has been on several PBS specials.
“My favorite musical theater production I’ve been in was Sound of Music,” said von Stade.
But that isn’t even half of what von Stade has accomplished, with awards she has received and a never-ending list of charity work. One of the numerous awards she has received is the Ordre des Artes et des Lettres, the highest award in the arts in France.
One of von Stade’s favorite charities is the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra. She has been with the program for eight years and is a board member. It is a program for nine- to 18-year-old low-income students that want grow in their academics and music talents.
“I love working with the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra because I like to hear the young voices and I admire the students spirit,” said von Stade.
She has taken many students with her to the San Francisco Opera house to watch performances and has also invited some of her colleagues to the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra program to help students.
Jim Meredith, the Director of Vocal Studies with the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, has been friends with von Stade for years.
“Having the stature of such an artist associated with YMCO has been invaluable in the attention it has brought the organization,” Meredith said. “She is a working board member who rolls up her sleeves and helps the organization in many ways.”
But that’s not all. Some of von Stade’s top students from the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra joined her on stage February 6th at 6:30 p.m. at the Mertes Center of the Arts, building 4000.
“She is involved monthly in board meetings and comes to performances and events as much as she can given her ongoing career. I’m in touch with her all the time about the kids. She wants to know how they are doing, how they are progressing, what triumphs have they had,” said Meredith.
The tickets for students were $10. Those who wanted to meet von Stade were able to purchase a ticket for $125. The meet-and-greet also offered music, wine from the LPC viticulture class, and hors d’oeuvres from Posada Restaurant.
Ian Brekke, Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at LPC, has been a huge fan of von Stade for years.
“There are very few opportunities to see a vocalist of this immense quality in a live setting, so we hope that our students take advantage by attending Saturday evening. Student tickets are available at the door or online on LPC’s Performing Arts homepage,” said Brekke.