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In a town now synonymous with bluegrass and country music, opera singers from Appalachia
seem like quite rarities. For Rachel Barker, a 2008 alumna of King College, she finds
herself explaining the unique nature of her chosen profession. Barker, who is originally
from Bristol, Va., most recently, received her Master of Music from Westminster Choir
College in Princeton, N.J., studying Vocal Pedagogy and Performance with a concentration
While at King, Barker was extremely active in the performing arts, and gives King
College very high praise for laying the foundation for her musical journey.
“Being active in the performing arts while here at King provided me the opportunity
to explore and find out where my passions are,” Barker said. “I always had an interest
in the performing arts, and, through the encouragement of the music faculty, was one
of the biggest reasons I decided to go into performing.”
Most recently Rachel had her debut in Inez in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” with the New
York Opera Forum in New York City. Now Barker is bringing her operatic arias, including
spirituals, American art songs, and show tunes to the Memorial Chapel on the campus
of King College, during a fundraising recital on Sept. 22 beginning at 7:00 p.m.
“I think it’s one of the most rewarding things as a professor, to see students like
Rachel want to come back and give back to her alma mater through the gift of singing,”
said Dr. Pat Flannagan, professor of music.
Barker will be raising money to help support her upcoming audition season. Getting
established in the performing arts can come with bumps in the road, but Barker says
it’s all about hard work and determination.
“No matter where you go to college or where you end up in life, for musicians, it’s
all about how long you’re willing to stay in the game. It’s also about taking advantage
of every opportunity and being extremely proactive,” Barker concluded.
For more information about the event, please contact Pat Flannagan at 423.652.4846