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Good eats and singing: Insights from a music performance major

  • College opera students singing on stage

Brylan Finley ’23 is a music performance major at Pacific. She loves singing and, while growing up in Stockton, she attended regional and all state honor choirs as well as Pacific Summer Music Camps. She chose Pacific because it already “felt like home.”

In the spring of 2022, Brylan performed the role of Jenny Diver, one of the lead parts in the Pacific Opera Theatre’s production of “The Threepenny Opera.” The production received one of the first-place awards in the 2022 National Opera Association Production Competition.

Brylan shares her insights about Pacific, favorite places to eat off-campus and her experience singing in an award-winning opera production.

What surprised you about Pacific?
Pacific is very inclusive, and everyone is very supportive.

What is your favorite place to study on campus?
The choir rehearsal hall or the patio outside of Starbucks.

What is your favorite place to do something fun on campus?
Probably the Lair!

Do you have a favorite place to eat out in Stockton?
I LOVE the Siamese Street Thai Restaurant [on the Miracle Mile]! I always get chicken Pad Thai with no spice. BJ’s is my close second. I usually get the ribs or a guacamole bacon burger with a gluten free bun. And, of course, I can’t forget In-N-Out! I order their double meat protein style burger with a light lemonade.

What is the best thing about Pacific’s Conservatory of Music?
Definitely the faculty. I love my professors, and they have been huge pillars in my growth as a person and as a musician.

What do you like best about Pacific Opera Theatre program?
Professor Jim Haffner. His energy and joy that he brings to rehearsals and to his work truly make every day in the program worthwhile.

How often do you get to perform in front of an audience?
I have performed in choir concerts with Pacific Singers, in opera performances and shows, and in my own junior and senior recitals.

What was your favorite performance so far?
I think, it was my junior recital because I was able to see how hard I have worked to get to where I am today. However, the Opera Follies always gave me the most “feeling of the whole.”

How much did you have to practice for your part in “The Threepenny Opera”?
Rehearsals were a daily occurrence between the memorization of lines/songs and establishing who I wanted this character to be.

What was the biggest challenge about playing that part?
Putting myself out there physically was especially challenging.

Why did this production win one of the first-place awards in the National Opera Association Production Competition?
There is a lot of talent in our ensemble, and I definitely think that was important. But I think the main factor was the amount of fun radiating from what was happening on stage.

For you personally, what stood out about that production?
The feeling of ensemble was incredibly strong with this cast. I felt that we worked together very well.

What has changed about you as a performer after that experience?
I am definitely more well-rounded as an actor and more comfortable putting myself out there.

What is a singing part that you dream about performing one day?
I would love to play the title role in Carmen!

What are your plans after graduation?
I have so many interests, so I’m not 100% sure of my plans after graduation. I do know that I want a master’s degree in either vocal performance or music therapy.

What would you never want to change about Pacific?
The welcoming and kind nature of the students, faculty and staff.

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