TRAVERSE CITY — June in Italy is a dream come true for Kimberly DeBusschere.
The Traverse City Central High School senior is an aspiring opera singer intensely focused on her goals.
DeBusschere is jump-starting college auditions and her future career in part by attending Si parla, si canta through June 30 in Urbania, Italy.
Her private voice teacher, Lynn Church, encouraged DeBusschere to try for the program that features an intense study of Italian language and culture.
Participants, who are all college age except for DeBusschere, also receive musical and dramatic coaching in Italian operatic and song repertoire as well as performing opportunities. The faculty includes internationally known teachers, and students may attend for either four or six weeks.
"I'm so grateful to work with these amazing teachers and talk to students about their colleges," said DeBusschere, who completed school early to attend Si parla, si canta, which began June 2. "I feel like this opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Church teaches voice both here and in New York City and is a professional classical singer based in Traverse City. She previously worked with Benton Hess, Si parla, si canta artistic director.
"It's a very, very select group," she said of Si parla, si canta, adding of Hess' reaction to the audition DeBusschere sent him: "He immediately fell in love with her voice and wanted her for the program."
The opportunity is well-deserved, Church added, because DeBusschere is extremely focused, driven and smart, a "go-getter."
"She's working with some of the top professionals in the best opera center in the world," Church said.
DeBusschere starts each day with three and a half hours of grammar lessons; Tuesdays and Thursdays also feature conversation classes.
The philosophy of the prestigious Centro Studi Italiani language school is complete immersion to facilitate learning; teachers and students speak only Italian.
"It makes us work harder to learn the words so that we can communicate," DeBusschere said.
Vocal training includes master classes and preparing opera scenes, with coaching by teachers from Eastman and Juilliard.
DeBusschere said the timing is perfect as she looks ahead to college auditions during her upcoming senior year.
"Hearing feedback from schools is so great because I will be auditioning for these schools and know what they are looking for as (I) sing my repertoire," she said.
DeBusschere will be a member of Central High School's elite Choral-Aires ensemble in the fall.
She has been involved with musical theater since third grade but zeroed in on opera in high school.
This spring, she made it to the finals of the 18th annual Italian Songs and Arias Vocal Competition, a state-level event, and to the semi-finals of the national Classical Singers competition.
DeBusschere was not able to audition for the school's annual musical because of her Italy adventure.
She will be extremely busy with school anyway. After racing through high school core classes, starting last year DeBusschere dual-enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College; she will take 12 credits fall semester.
TRAVERSE CITY — June in Italy is a dream come true for Kimberly DeBusschere.
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