By Marina Gomberg
Kevin Blickfeldt dreamt of performing on international stages when he was an undergraduate in the University of Utah School of Music studying vocal performance. And this year, that dream is becoming a very big reality.
Blickfeldt and three of his opera-singing friends, David Castillo, Arnold Geis and DeMar Neal, formed an operatic boy band (or #manband as they refer to themselves) called VOXto compete on NBC’s hit show “America’s Got Talent.”
Together, the four make a classically trained vocal quartet specializing in opera, musical theater and crossover music. Whether singing the soaring arias of opera’s greatest composers, performing the heart-wrenching melodies of musical theatre’s greatest shows or putting their signature twist on the chart-topping hits of today, VOX has something for everyone.
These baritone hunks blew the audience and judges away when they performed a specially arranged four-part version of Puccini’s aria “Nessum Dorma” from the opera “Turandot.” They received an emphatic standing ovation along with unanimous support from judges Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Mel B to move forward in the competition.
This week, the next phase of the contest, the Judge’s Cut Round, kicks off and will decide what performers move on to the semifinals and finals hosted at the iconic Radio City Music Hall this summer.
“My time at the University of Utah was pivotal in preparing me for this experience,” Blickfeldt said. “Julie Wright Costa, my voice teacher at the time, really believed in me. She prepared me with a sound technical foundation and helped me work through some mental issues that were getting in the way of my singing. In my Opera Workshop Class, Robert Breault taught me how to audition with confidence, how to comport myself on stage and—most importantly—to sing with heart. He always stressed that what we do is a privilege and that each opportunity is a gift. These lessons from the U have always stayed with me.”
Blickfeldt graduated from the University of Utah in 2007 with a double-major in music and political science, went on to get his Master of Music from Florida State University and his Doctor of Musical Arts from University of Southern California.
The University of Utah, its College of Fine Arts and School of Music wish Blickfeldt and VOX the best during this wild ride.