A family affair: Rafael Porto shares his experience singing at Christ Church
I have sung in the choir at Christ Church Cathedral since 2014 and can safely say it has been one of the most rewarding spiritual and musical experiences of my life. While I’ve studied opera and concert repertoire in my undergraduate at Butler University and my Masters at Indiana University, it was choral music that brought me to singing. I found my love for singing in the Indianapolis Children’s choir, but after leaving the organization after high school, I really missed choral music. I had worked as a paid singer in several churches, but nothing could compare to my time at Christ Church. In my opinion, the premier choir of its kind in the state, this ensemble exposed me to a whole world of choral music, especially English and early music, which I’m not sure I could have found anywhere else. In addition, I’ve been surrounded by some absolutely incredible singers, organists, and directors which have been both patient with me in my shortcomings and have taught so much in terms of musicality, style, performance practice, and professionalism.
I will leave the choir at the end of this season to continue my operatic career. I’m thrilled to say that in September I’ve been invited to Nashville Opera as a guest artist in their Tosca production singing the role of Sacristan and Jailer. Following that I will make my home in Miami where I’ve been invited to join the Resident Young Artist Program at Florida Grand Opera, one of the strongest opera companies in the country. These programs are similar to an apprenticeship program where young singers are paid decently and housed so that they can solely focus on honing their craft, learning, and performing with some of the best people in the business. I’ll be involved in FGO’s productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Florencia en el amazonas (amazing opera in Spanish done this past year at IU), and Salome.
Singing at Christ Church has always been more than a job to me. I consider all the men in the choir my good friends and I truly believe that our camaraderie and dynamic plays a huge role in the caliber and quality of music we are able to produce. I’ve also loved developing a closer relationship to the choristers, especially this year. These young professionals are absolutely outstanding and so inspiring for me. I see much of myself in them and I don’t think they realize yet how talented they are to tackle complex repertoire every week. These are musical skills that are setting a foundation for the rest of their lives.
Christ Church has always been extremely welcoming to me; while I may be away, I will always consider myself part of that family.