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FHSU singers plan for summer break on stage





It will be a working summer break for four Fort Hays State University music students.

Luke Fairbank and Eriana Holle, both of Hays; Calder Craig, Russell; and Karl Pratt, Hoxie, will spend some time at workshops honing their vocal and performing skills.

Fairbank and Craig are attending the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Perigueux, France, from July 4 to Aug. 15, where they have roles in Offenbach's operetta, "La Perichole."

"We were going to audition for another program, the one Karl and Eriana are going to in South Dakota," Craig said.

Then they learned they were accepted to FAVA's program.

"We canceled our other audition, because, of course, we're going to choose France," he said. "South Dakota's wonderful, but I've never been to France."

Craig also earned a role in FAVA's production of another Offenbach operetta, "La Vie Parisienne," in Elgin, Texas, before leaving for France. Those roles usually are reserved for FAVA graduates.

Fairbank has been to France before with a French-speaking friend. This will be Craig's first visit, so he's going two weeks early to spend some time sightseeing before meeting Fairbank on July 2.

Neither speaks the language well.

"Hopefully his two weeks there to begin with will get him assimilated, and I can follow him," Fairbank said of Craig.

Holle and Pratt are attending the Johanna Meier Opera Theatre Institute at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., from June 15 to 30.

"It's a short program, but it's also very intense," said Holle, who's been cast in the opera "Carmen." "We have to have our parts learned before we get there. If we don't, we get replaced with someone else."

The institute also includes voice lessons, movement classes and master classes with guest clinicians.

Pratt also plans to attend a weeklong workshop at Pacific Lutheran University directed by former FHSU music instructor James Brown.

The four performed three recitals -- one each in their hometowns, Hoxie for Pratt, Russell for Craig and Hays for Fairbank and Holle -- to help pay for the trip.