Swope Music Building
817 S. High Street
West Chester, PA 19383
School of Music
Dr. Christopher Hanning
Will Hillegeist, M.M.
Matthew Scott Miller
Robert (Bob) Rust
Recording Engineer/Video Technician
Director, Acoustic Instrument Technical Services
Area of Study: Vocal Performance
Current City: New York, NY
Graduation Date: May 2010
Current Occupation: Opera Singer, Baritone
Personal Website: jarrettott.com
Why did you choose WCU and/or the School of Music?
The moment I stepped onto WCU's campus during my tour, it just felt like home. Back then I was planning to be a music educator, and one of the main reasons I chose WCU was because of the School of Music's incredible reputation. Though my marching band days may be long over, at the time that was a huge part of my life. Seeing and hearing the band perform for the first time really sealed the deal for me.
What training or education did the School of Music provide for you that relates to your current occupation?
The faculty that makes up the voice department at WCUSOM is top rate. I learned so much from each one of them. The staging rehearsals and diction courses with Dr. Bullock and Dr. Lee, choir with Dr. DeVenney, repertoire classes and lessons with Randall Scarlata, the tremendous theory/aural skills faculty, and master classes with both the faculty and outside renowned guests all gave me skills and experiences that inform my daily life as an opera singer.
What is a typical day like for you?
When I am under contract with an opera company, my days usually consist of six hours of staging or musical rehearsals, but the day doesn't end there. I must also make time for vocal practice, as well as reviewing any past staging notes and checking in to make sure the music is memorized meticulously. When I'm not in the midst of a contract, I’m usually learning music for my next event. Also working through those tough spots in the voice (we'll always have them) is a constant battle. All that being said, mental health/rest days are totally necessary every once in a while. Netflix, HBOGo, and a couch do the mind and body good.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
Have patience. Nobody finds their perfect technique and rises to stardom overnight. I'm 28 and still working diligently each day to grow as a singer and musician, and I don't foresee that ever changing. Learn as much repertoire as you can that is appropriate to your voice now and that companies would want to hire you for now, rather than focusing on a distant future. Also, pay attention in Aurals!
What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or in the School of Music?
That is a hard question for me because I cherished every moment I was involved with the Concert Choir and the Golden Ram Marching Band, whether on the field with my sax or on the podium conducting one of the best bands in the world. But if I had to pick one specific memory it would probably be knocking on Randall Scarlata’s door during my final semester to tell him that all of our hard work together paid off—that I got accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music for my graduate degree. There will never be a feeling that matches that.