Amanda Silliker is a professional opera singer and vocal instructor in Central Pennsylvania. During the 2020 Central PA Theatre and Dance Fest, she will be hosting Broadway Karaoke on Friday, June 19 at 10pm and Community Sings Broadway on Saturday, June 20 at 6pm. For more about Amanda, go to www.facebook.com/silliker.mezzo/
- What led you to singing? I didn’t have a choice, it chased me down! I grew up with singers in the family – my grandmother used to sing blues/jazz/music theater with me as a wee tot in her car. I was singing the Cabaret soundtrack when I was 4! I had no intention of being a singer, though I did want to be a musician. But my senior year in high school, Dr. Norman Spivey came to our school to give a masterclass. I wasn’t supposed to sing, but last minute a classmate got sick so I was put into the masterclass to fill up time at the end. I ended up studying with Dr. Spivey for many years, attending Penn State just to follow his instruction.
- What has been your favorite performance to date? Hmm… I think I would have to say when I performed the Verdi Requiem in 2011 with the combined Penn State orchestras and choirs in Eisenhower. I had over 400 musicians behind me and a sold-out crowd in front of me (they turned people away). My other soloists were seasoned international singers…it was awesome! When it comes to musical theatre, I would have to say, “Musical of Musicals: the Musical!”. What a hoot!! The show lampoons major writers like Sondheim and AL Webber. I played the maternal/crone archetype, Abbey.
- What advice would you give to a young vocal student? It totally depends on what they want! But it boils down to balance. We must train both our head and chest registers to work together. That’s the science. The art? Resist the urge to hold yourself back – follow your impulse. Be open.
- What’s your approach to singing? My approach to singing is about moving people; bringing them on a journey with me. Move us through joy and sorrow, through hope and fear. Drawing threads of understanding and recognition through us.
- What’s something you want everyone to know about singing? Singing is liberating. Freeing. Yet it creates bonds. It’s motivating. It’s calming. It speaks to our very core. It uses parts of the brain no other activity does. Singing can bring us to a deep contemplative peace, or it can whip us into a frenzy. It unites people and gives us strength to persevere together.