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Southern Oregon University

Intellectual Creativity—The Freedom to Explore Your Interests and Develop Your Talents

When SOU Music Professor Alexander Tutunov heard her sing in Alaska, he was so impressed he persuaded her to come to SOU. He convinced her, and she enrolled as a nursing student early on, but eventually switched to a double major in music and music business.

Beatriz was the only female freshman to be accepted into the SOU Chamber Choir and, in 2009, toured with the group in Germany and the Czech Republic. At the end of her freshman year, she had earned the Outstanding Music Freshman Award, the E. Mulling Music Scholarship, the Leon Mulling Music Scholarship, and the Diversity Scholarship. In her sophomore year, Beatriz was accepted as a performance major and was featured as a soloist for the SOU Concert Choir. As a junior, she performed for the Southern Oregon Arts and Research festivities in May.

Beatriz Abella on StageHer talent opened doors outside SOU as well. In 2009, she played Marcy Park in the Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It was the first time in 25 years that a student had been cast at the theatre.

Her biggest honor to date was becoming the only vocalist to receive the Grand Winner prize for the National Young Musicians Showcase Competition. She started as the runner-up, but the original Grand Winner, a Juilliard School student, wasn’t able to attend the award ceremony, so Beatriz received the award—and sang at the ceremony at Carnegie Hall on April 30, 2011.

Beatriz is a first-generation Filipino-American who was born in Alaska. Her father is a U.S. postal service worker, her mother an accountant for the state of Alaska.

“Singing makes me feel free, uninhibited,” she says. “When you’re singing really well it’s like an out-of-body experience. You’ve practiced the piece so many times you have to let yourself go and the music takes care of itself.”

SOU and the Ashland community, she says, have given her many opportunities to perform and grow. “Not many places will give you the opportunity to perform in a professional theatre your freshman year or tour Europe your freshman year and perform where Bach himself is buried. It’s safe to say I’m extremely lucky.”