LOCAL NEWS

Veterans fill chorus in soldiers’ opera in Seattle

Nov 7, 2019, 6:03 AM | Updated: 6:15 am
opera, arts...
'The Falling and the Rising,' presented by Seattle Opera last November. (Photo by Ziggy Mack)
(Photo by Ziggy Mack)

When an opera about the military is performed in Seattle this month, it will, for the first time, feature a chorus full of U.S. Military veterans.

The opera, The Falling and the Rising, was commissioned by the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus.

“The opera is based on interviews with soldiers and veterans in recovery at Walter Reed Medical Center,” said Alejandra Valarino Boyer, with Seattle Opera Programs and Partnerships.

Boyer says the story centers around a soldier who suffers a traumatic brain injury from a road side bomb.

“She is placed in a coma, and during this medically induced coma, she is having these very vivid dreams,” Boyer said.

Soldiers appear in the soldier’s dreams to support her as she recovers and transitions home. Each soldier also reveals his or her own challenges. One is disabled, another mourns the amount of time he had to spend away from family, and another left the military only to realize it was home.

Chorus member Melodie Clarke understands that.

“I went into the Army mainly to escape an abusive home,” Clarke said, but she was medically boarded out because of asthma. “I found a family and got torn away from them.”

Fellow troops weigh on the heart of Ryan Mielcarek, too. While serving with the Navy SeaBees, he was deployed to Iraq.

“As SeaBees, we’re in a support role and I always say I never feel truly exceptional,” Mielcarek. “I feel exceptionally obligated because I never got the worst of it.”

While the opera’s lead rolls will be performed by professional singers, the chorus is comprised of veterans from the organization, “Path with Art.”

“We’re specifically focused on adults who are living in and recovering from all manner of trauma,” explained Path with Art Executive Director Holly Jacobson. “We provide opportunities for people to reclaim their narratives, connect back to themselves and back to community through the power of art.”

The veterans say that as they perform this opera about a soldier’s journey home, they find healing.

“When you’re singing with other like-minded people and the love that we show each other — it feeds your soul. And your soul needs to be fed,” Clarke said.

“We are meant to live in harmony,” said Navy Veteran Mertiss Thompson. “We have some outside agencies that come in and kind of attack that, but we can always go within and get back to the state.”

“Let us sing together. Let us live together!” Thompson added.

Mielcarek said, that’s the point of this performance.

“Theater is the veteran art form,” Mielcarek said. “Theater came from coming back from war and telling your story to community. So this is actually nothing new. We’re just coming back to it. When the words are just too much to say, you’ve got to sing it. You’ve got to sing it, together.”

Local News

Sound Transit CEO...
Chris Sullivan

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff to step down in 2022

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff will step down in the middle of next year, citing exhaustion brought on by the strain of the role.
1 day ago
Lorena Gonzalez, Seattle homeless crisis...
Nick Bowman

Seattle mayoral candidates unveils expansive plan to address city’s homeless crisis

Seattle Council President and mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez unveiled her plan to address the city's homeless crisis in her first 100 days.
1 day ago
Eviction moratorium...
Nick Bowman

Gov. Inslee extends eviction moratorium ‘bridge’ period through end of October

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that he is extending an eviction moratorium "bridge" period another 30 days. 
1 day ago
72 hour parking enforcement...
Nick Bowman

Seattle ‘reviewing’ recently-reinstated 72-hour parking enforcement policy

The City of Seattle could soon be considering changes to its 72-hour parking enforcement policy for the second time, after it was reinstated in early April.
1 day ago
Unruly passengers...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Washington lawmaker calls on FAA to address ‘disgusting’ behavior from unruly airline passengers

Washington Rep. Rick Larsen lead a hearing in the U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee on Thursday to address an uptick in unruly airline passengers. 
1 day ago
Crowd of rioters, January, Epik6, Capitol, officers...
Nick Bowman

Controversial Sammamish web-hosting company falls victim to ‘massive’ hack

Epik, a Sammamish-based hosting company known for its hosting of several controversial websites, was reportedly hacked last week. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Veterans fill chorus in soldiers’ opera in Seattle