MONTVILLE TWP. — Next month, a freshman from Medina High School will have an opportunity that most can only dream about.
Portia Becks will grace the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City to sing as part of the Honors Performance Series set for Feb. 7-11. The program was established to feature talented young musicians on stage at one of the world’s most famous music halls — Carnegie Hall. Performers from around the world come together in New York for several days of rehearsals with renowned conductors.
Portia Becks, 15, has been singing for as long as she can remember.
She began performing in musical theater at the age of 5, and has starred in a number of Buckeye Community Theatre productions, including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Aladdin.”
This Christmas, she also performed at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron.
She started working with voice teacher and audition coach Kimberly States about six months ago to perfect her already stellar voice.
“Portia went to Kim to hone in on her performance signing for choirs and solos, and to really master her technique,” mom, Laura Becks, said.
It didn’t take long for States to recognize something special in Portia.
“Not only is she a fabulous singer, but she is also an extremely strong actress,” States said. “She brings her musicality to acting. She also has the maturity level to be able to take constructive criticism.”
States began to think Portia would be a perfect candidate for the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.
“Her voice is a gorgeous, really beautiful instrument,” States said of her decision. “She is able to sing both classical and musical theater and she has the ability to do both and switch back and forth.”
Portia also has a strong work ethic, which she was going to need in order to prepare her audition piece, States said.
First, performers are required to be nominated by a voice teacher.
Then, they must prepare an Italian song, record it and submit it to the audition panel.
“I knew she would be able to learn the language with ease, and with her voice, I thought she would be a real shoo-in for this,” States said.
Portia is the first student States said she has ever nominated for the Honors Performance Series, and she couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
“Being selected at all is a huge honor, but to be accepted as a freshman is extremely rare,” States said.
It took Portia four months to perfect her song “Per la Gloria D’Adorarvi” for her audition.
“It’s definitely not the most fun when trying to perfect an Italian song,” Portia said. “It’s like baking a cake with no recipe. But looking back, the end product made it worth it.”
Portia learned she had been selected from her mom.
“She called me downstairs, and I think I already knew,” Portia said. “It’s an honor. I will be performing with people from all around the world. It’s pretty cool to be able to say I’m in that. I’m a part of it.”
She is the daughter of Laura and Paul Becks.
As parents, the Beckses couldn’t be more proud of their only child.
“When she applied, I thought she had a really good chance, but I prepared for the worst,” Laura Becks said. “We are really excited for her. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Not many people get the opportunity to perform there, and she is one of the youngest of the group. The whole experience is very exciting. It is going to be really wonderful for her.”
In addition to singing and performing, Portia plays piano and is a member of the high school golf team. She also loves to ski.
“I would never have been able to do this without Kimberly,” Portia said. “She is my second biggest supporter next to my parents. It’s pretty great she let me do this.”
For more about the Honors Performance Series, visit honorsperformance.org.