Barrie tenor inks his dream deal
Posted By SUSAN DOOLAN
Alocal singer has landed a two-year contract to per-for
m with a European theatre company. It was a dream come true for MacKenzie Gallinger, who has been working toward a career in music most of his life.
Many in Barrie know Gallinger for his roots in musical theatre. He spent five years with Strolling Youth Players singing, acting and dancing before moving onto community theatre. At the same time, he th formal singing training and began winning awards, among them the ORMTA Vocal Award for Grade 10.
In addition to teaching voice and piano, he joined History Comes Alive, a theatre company out of Newmarket, that brought historical events to life for area school students. Gallinger starred in a monologue about the life of a First World War veteran.
“There’s nothing like standing up in front of 150 14-and 15-yearolds and baring your soul and talki
ng for 90 minutes without a break,” recalled Gallinger, 34, of his character, Fred Le Fevure.
“So that really got me over any fears or inhibitions of performing in any venue at any moment and it really helped me hone my theatrical skills as well.”
The merging of all of his skills began to come together when Gallinger left Barrie to take an intensive six-week music course in Austria, part of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS).
While he could do musical the-at
re with ease and felt he had enough classical training to perform on a professional stage, the summer course opened his eyes to his strengths as well as what he lacked.
He decided to continue studying with one of the teachers he met, following the professor back to the University of Las Vegas.
“He helped my voice grow 100-fold,” he recalled.
“I asked him what it would take to get to a level of being able to perform professionally in opera.”
Why opera? That choice, he said, had a direct link to the death of his mother in 2005.
She had lived her entire life with a rare heart condition which limited her ability to do what she wanted.
“When you have a death of a family (member), you really take stock of your life,” said Gallinger. “I didn’t want regrets in my life.”
Nevertheless, that meant having to let go of fear. It was about this time, 2006, he found out about AIMS and auditioned.
During his time there, he performed several times, including his first public performance with an orchestra.
The school asked him back the following summer to work in operations.
By 2008, he returned as a student, this time with his future wife, Mahina Johnson — born and raised in Hawaii, she was working on her masters in music, vocal performance, and shared the same vocal instructor at the University of Las Vegas. The couple married in December, 2008.
They returned to AIMS in the summer of 2009, both as staff members, which also allowed them to continue their studies.
At the end of their time there, Gallinger stayed on to audition for three agents.
In his audition for Theater Lüneburg, he sang a piece in Italian and one in German.
The entire audition was conducted in German. Gallinger was subsequently hired as a tenor, full-time staff, to sing roles that range from comic to lyric tenor.
The company is located south of Hamburg, Germany.
“People go to see opera there like people go to the movies here,” said Gallinger, who is expanding his German language skills before he moves to Germany at the beginning of August.
In the meantime, he is back in Barrie teaching at the Cingolani Academy of Music and Performing Arts.