Nothing beats performing for a hometown crowd.
Just ask Juliann Albaugh, a 1996 Moffat County High School graduate who's performing some of her favorite popular songs and arias at a Steamboat Springs church on Friday.
"I really wa-
nted to do one in my hometown because I have a lot of people there who still support me," Albaugh said.
However, Steamboat offers a livelier opera scene, she said, and it's still close enough for friends and family to attend.
Albaugh describes the free hour-long concert as a mix of music styles that will appeal to just about anybody.
"If you like music, come," she said.
Musical selections include "Exsultate, Jubilate" by Mozart, "Lieder" by Schubert and Strauss, "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven, pieces by popular songwriter Cole Porter and arias from some of Albaugh's favorite operas.
Albaugh graduated in December with her master's degree in opera from the University of Texas Butler Opera Center and earned her bachelor's degree from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in 2001.
She traces her passion for performance back to her days at Moffat County High School. She was a percussionist in the band and sang in the choir.
"I did all the plays and musicals I could get into," Albaugh said.
Her high school roles included Luiza in "The Fantasticks," Belle in "A Christmas Carol," and Lucy in "Snoopy!!! The Musical."
Albaugh's parents, Archie and Dorcas Albaugh, still live in Craig.
Albaugh has performed several times in Colorado, including a show at First Congregational Church in Craig two years ago.
"I sing in Craig whenever I get home," Albaugh said. "Even though I've been gone so long, you go to the grocery store and everybody still knows you. Being able to come home from school and show people what I've learned means a lot."
Pianist Geneva Fung will accompany Albaugh on the trip and at the concert Friday. Fung is pursuing a doctorate of musical arts in piano performance at the University of Texas at Austin.
Fung, who is from Hong Kong, has not traveled outside Austin in the U.S., so Albaugh is excited to show her Colorado and Utah during their trip.
Now that Albaugh has finished her master's work, she plans to start auditioning for summer opera programs. She plans to stay in Texas at least until her husband of three years, Ross Matheson, finishes his bachelor's degree in computer science.
After that, where Albaugh will end up is unclear.
"I think we're just going to go wherever we can find work," she said.
But her heart is still at home.
"I would love to go back to Colorado. I miss the mountains," Albaugh said. "It just doesn't feel right when its 80 degrees around Christmastime."
Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.