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Somerset Opera Singer Offering Vocal Training for Students Who Can’t Afford Lessons

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Amanda Balltrip
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An opera singer who lives in Somerset, Kentucky is offering six months of voice lessons for two young people who would not be able to afford the vocal training. The deadline to apply to Lift Every Voice is Aug. 22.

Singer Amanda Balltrip, who is from Harlan and lives in Somerset, said the program is open to any student in grades 6-12.

“They do not have to be interested in classical music. They can be interested in any genre. It can be pop, it can be rock, it can be country," said Balltrip. "Whatever speaks to their heart, that’s what we want to pursue.”

Balltrip said she will provide a safe environment for the lessons during the pandemic, probably beginning with video conferences and then at McNeil Music Center in Somerset.

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A glass panel found at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Lexington will be part of a safe voice studio for Amanda Balltrip's students at McNeil Music Center in Somerset.

She's creating a studio setting with a glass panel between her and the student singers.

Balltrip and the students will also have specialty face masks with a plastic portion so the mouth is visible. The masks were originally designed to help people with hearing disabilities.

Balltrip has performed with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and Choirs. 

She has also performed at Lincoln Center in New York; in Montreal, Canada; in Bogota, Colombia; and in Dublin, Ireland.

Now Balltrip is increasing her focus on offering vocal training to young people in the Lake Cumberland Region who may face obstacles to developing their talent.

Balltrip said anyone who would like more information or assistance with the application can contact her via email

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Hear Amanda Balltrip singing "In Trutina" from Carmina Burana with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and Choirs.

Rhonda Miller joined WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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