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Wakefield Student Hannah Rutti Makes a Carnegie Hall Debut

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Hannah Rutti

By Sophie Scheps For Middleburg Life

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akefield School sophomore and Upperville native Hannah Rutti has musical talent in her blood. Learning to sing from her grandmother at the age of two, and having her father Roger Rutti accompany her as a classical guitarist, it’s no surprise she was selected to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York at the end of February. The 2015 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall presented by WorldStrides, the nation’s leading educational travel organization, is a yearly event established to showcase the most talented high school students from North America and several international schools. Rutti performed as a first soprano with the Honors Choir. Auditions for the Honors Performance Series took place this past fall and included a rigorous application and audition process to evaluate talent, dedication, and achievements from more than 10,000 applicants. “I sang two classical art songs, one by Franz Schubert and another one by Girolamo Frescobaldi,” Rutti said. “The Carnegie institute contacted me by email after about two months and let me know that I was selected for the performance.” Being chosen to perform was the culmination of eight years of study. She’s taken voice lessons the last four years with Dr. Janette Ogg, Professor Emeritus of Shenandoah University, and also studied jazz and music production with Dr. Adrian Re. “My favorite style is classical, but I also enjoy blues, jazz and all types of music,” she said. “Music conveys emotions that are difficult to express in words. I also enjoy sharing my joy of music with others.” Rutti currently participates in the Wakefield School Chorus and has performed in several school musicals. She’s been performing at

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public and private functions since 2012, earning first place in 2011 at the Bland Regional Vocal Competition for her age group and second place in the 2010 competition. Although Rutti had visited New York City many times, the chance to perform at perhaps one of the most famous musical venues while still a teenager is something she will never forget. On that same stage, famous musicians including The Beatles, Nina Simone, and The Beach Boys have appeared at the height of their careers. The 500 finalists selected along with Rutti studied under famed conductor Dr. Eph Ehly and other master conductors for five days before their public performance. Finalists also got to see a Broadway play and go on sightseeing tours. “I was most excited about this opportunity because I met Eph Ehly,” she said. “I don’t really get nervous before performances, but I find that some voice exercises and a lot of rest on the day of the performance helps.” After Rutti graduates from Wakefield, she hopes to continue her musical education and major in vocal performance while in college. Although she hasn’t picked the school yet, a top music conservatory like Julliard is her dream. In the meantime, gaining experience in all aspects of the music industry is her passion. “I enjoy musical theater and opera and would like to have the experience of performing in professional productions in both areas,” she said. “I also enjoy working in a recording studio and I am currently working on making my first marketable CD.” In addition to music, Rutti’s other interests include horseback riding and a love of all animals. As a lifelong local, she also enjoys visiting with friends she’s had for many years. “Middleburg is a small community that is very personal and unique,” she said. “I was very proud [to be selected to perform] and all of my family and friends have been very supportive.” n

Middleburg Life, March 2015