Zoe Meier was Selected to Participate in a Opera Program


Credit to Anna Hollinger

By Julia Sampolska

There are people who know in their childhood who they are going to be. One of them was 8-year-old Zoe Meier when she was standing on stage one day, realizing that in the future she would like to be a singer. That dream came true when Zoe decided to take part in the auditions to Opera Theatre Saint Louis Artist in Training (AIT) Program.

“I heard about the auditions from a lady at my church,” Zoe said. “Then, I went to see the performance from that program, where I got all information and dates about auditions.”

AIT has set out to coach and encourage talented students from high schools across the St. Louis area since it was established in 1990. In AIT, participants work to improve voice skills with professionals, performing with major opera companies and symphonies across the United States and Europe. Graduates of the AIT program have gone on to study at the nation’s top music schools like Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music and New England Conservatory.

Only 25 students from Saint Louis have been selected to participate in the 2019-20 AIT program. Meier is one of them.

“We don’t get involved in what she earns or accomplishes,” Angela Meier, Zoe’s mother said. “Auditions were all on her. She gets what she earns and we stay out of all that, for sure.”

Zoe worked hard and prepared for auditions, attending choir class and taking private lessons with a voice coach. Her first artistic experiences had with St. Charles Community College, performing as a kid. After a few years, when she came to FHN and took choir class, she started improving her voice in a big group of singers.

To participate in auditions, Zoe had to pick a piece of classical music and perform it in front of a panel of judges. It was a good opportunity to test her stage presence.

“I was very excited about the opportunity for Zoe,” Angela said. “She was very nervous, way more than me. My job was to keep her encouraged and redirect her energy to be excited instead of nervous.”

Zoe likes to listen to some music genres, mainly jazz and classical music. Everyone probably would ask her why opera? Why does she sing such a beautiful, but hard type of music?

“Our FHN’s concert choir teacher, Ms. Jennifer Onken was the first one who produced the idea of me being involved in classical voice,” Zoe said. “She definitely influenced that decision and helped me to meet up with my voice coach.”

Being a participant of this opera program gives lots of experiences. Zoe is most excited for watching artistic performances, talking with famous opera singers and performing in The Sheldon Concert Hall. This is a big step in her early career. Despite previous experience, the young artist still discovers more and more about her artistic soul.

“Zoe’s bent towards theater and singing has been evident since she was a toddler,” Angela said. “When she made a conscious decision that she wanted to do this professionally her father and I have done everything we can with our schedule and our finances to get her the training she needs. We have done all we could.”

Support from family and friends certainly helped Zoe spread her wings and achieve this success.

“In 10 years, hopefully I’ll have my masters and I’ll be somewhere in Europe or in a big city in the USA performing,” Zoe said.