Renowned soprano Angela Meade said it had been years since she had performed any kind of song on stage at Centralia High School, but Monday morning she did just that for a group of students at her alma mater.
CENTRALIA, Lewis County — Angela Meade said it had been years since she had performed any kind of song on stage at Centralia High School, but Monday morning she did exactly that for a group of students at her alma mater.
The circumstances are a bit different now than when she graduated in 1995, as Meade now lives in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, just blocks from where she now performs at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Her return to Centralia, where she was born and raised, was part of a visit to the Pacific Northwest that culminates with a trip to Tacoma tonight to perform opera with the Pacific Lutheran University Orchestra.
But before tonight’s big concert that honors her award as the 2011 Distinguished Alumna at the college, she wanted to give back to her hometown.
“I hadn’t been inside that school in — well, eons,” Meade laughed. “It was nice to be back and to see so many students interested in opera in general.”
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Meade’s niece, Quartney Meade, a Centralia sophomore, invited her to the school to perform for choir students Monday morning. The renowned soprano took the stage for many more than just the music students as she performed two arias from theater pieces: “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s “Norma,” and “Porgi Amor” from “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart.
It didn’t matter to the students that it was opera — Meade left with the impression that the students were enthralled with the performances.
“They received it better than I thought they would, and they were really attentive,” Meade said. “I thought there was going to be silence afterward from most of the kids, but I received so many questions for a question-and-answer session.”
One, Meade said, asked if she ever thought there was a limit to what she could do as a student at Centralia High School.
“Not a chance,” Meade said. “Anyone can do anything they want to if they put their heart, mind and soul into it.”
Meade’s journey from Centralia High School to New York City involved stops at PLU for her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and at the University of Southern California for a master’s degree in vocal arts. She first performed at the Met in New York as a t replacement three years ago for a fellow soprano who fell ill.
And now you know the rest of the story, or so they say.
“I’m right behind the Met, so I walk to work now,” Meade said joyfully. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. Coming to the high school, I wanted to tell everyone that just because you come from little old Centralia doesn’t mean you can’t do anything for yourself in the future.”