“I sang with the Vanguard Choir in New York during my senior year in high school, and I witnessed the greatness that is Dr. Joni Prado. I knew that if I could study with someone as talented as Dr. Prado that I could make my dreams of performing a reality.” Tyler Wolsten, Class of 2013
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you decide to attend Vanguard University?
Well, my name is Tyler Mitchell Wolsten, and I grew up in Oregon and Idaho. I am currently in my second year at CSUF for my Masters of Music degree with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. My path to Vanguard is different than most, as I came in as a Freshmen Transfer uprooting from my family and friends in Boise, Idaho. I sang with the Vanguard Choir in New York during my senior year in high school, and I witnessed the greatness that is Dr. Joni Prado. I knew that if I could study with someone as talented as Dr. Prado that I could make my dreams of performing a reality. I studied with Dr. Prado at the beginning of my Sophomore year, and will always be indebt to her guidance and support.
Q: Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had here in the Department of Music.
I have had the pleasure of performing all over Europe with Vanguard, as well as at Avery Fischer Hall in New York, and Segerstrom Hall in O.C. I can’t think of one particular experience that helped me grow as a musician, but the professionalism that the music faculty displayed set me on course to be an example elsewhere.
Q: Where are you now? Why did you decide to go to graduate school to pursue a Master of Music degree?
I am currently at CSUF pursuing my Graduate work. I spent about 8 months out of school from Vanguard not really pursuing anything musically. I continued to take lessons, but performance opportunities were slim. I felt like I was in a transitional period that I simply couldn’t sustain, and knew that Graduate School needed to be my next move to continue the growth I had been graving.
Q: Congratulations on landing the lead role in The Magic Flute! What is it like preparing to portray a prince in one of Mozart’s most beloved operas?
Thank you! It is a lot of hard work and time management at the moment. I spend most days trying to improve my understanding of the text as I’m doing it in German. Die Zauberflöte is a Singspiel opera, which means there is spoken dialogue similar to an operetta or a musical. To properly understand the inflection, and syntax of my lines requires hours of study and practice each day. Mozart has a way of sounding easy, but being incredibly difficult with the nuance and detail needed to perfect his score. Tamino is a wonderful character to immerse myself with. He is innocent, brave, trustworthy, passionate, loving, kind, and rational. Getting into his head space and inner objects has been a treat!
Q: What excites you the most about the opportunity to travel to Germany to study opera?
I think the experience I’m receiving both now and while I’m there. I try to work diligently to be as prepared as possible with a role this big, and the discipline it requires is a lot! I think being able to say that I am able to perform something to this magnitude speaks to how powerful our God is, and how using our talents to honor him shows that we can achieve great things in his name.
Q: What advice do you have for incoming and current students?
That work ethic is a talent too, and that attitude means everything. I’ve learned that people will not give you opportunities, and if you truly believe God has called you to a path, run as fast as you can towards it. Our time here is short, so use what God gave you!