Amy Stebbins: Vocalist Extraordinaire

Over the past four years, Amy Stebbins ’03 has delighted the Andover community with her vocal and theatrical talents. She feels inspired by the likes of three-time Tony winner Audrey MacDonald and operatic star Rene Flemming. Stebbins received her flair for music and theater from her mother, who worked in California repertory theater, playing parts such as Sarah Brown in “Guys and Dolls.” Also a private instructor in piano, flute and voice, Stebbins’ mother made music an “integral part” of her daughter’s childhood: “I have lots of memories of my mom’s singing from when I was younger.” Before coming to PA, Stebbins studied voice for two years with distinguished soprano Holly Outwin-Tepe. However, despite singing jazz and classical styles in school and community groups, she “really didn’t begin to develop a true appreciation for classical music and opera” until Andover. Strangely enough, Stebbins did not try out for any music groups when she first arrived in Andover as a Junior. She subsequently joined the Academy Chorus in late October, and quickly earned a solo in “The Chichester Psalms,” by Leonard Bernstein. She performed the piece not only for Parents’ Weekend, but also for an All-School Meeting (ASM). Stebbins remembers being a very intimidated Junior: “I woke up at quarter to six to warm up. I brought a box of Kleenex, pair of slippers, and teddy bear up to the Organ Gallery with me. [It was] terrifying to look down and see Mrs. Chase and these 1000 kids with whom I would be living for the next four years.” Shortly after the successful ASM performance, Mr. Thomas, the director of the Cantata choir, decided to pull Stebbins into the group. After earning a spot in the selective a capella group the Fidelio Society as a Lower, she elected to take a year off from the Andover campus and pursue SYA France as an Upper. Returning to PA as a Senior, Stebbins was given the unique opportunity of performing an operatic aria for the school. Her voice teacher, Allen Combs, chose the piece, “Dovo Sono,” from The Marriage of Figaro. However, Stebbins turned to her hero Rene Flemming, whom she had first heard perform the piece in the ninth grade, when preparing for the aria: “I used Rene’s example for a large part of my interpretation.” During the process, Stebbins felt that she had to prove herself to the orchestra. She “really wanted to fell” the stereotype “that vocalists are airheads.” Additionally, she worried that the “student body wouldn’t appreciate an aria,” since most teenagers have little or no exposure to opera. Her concerns were unfounded, however, when she received positive feedback from her peers after the ASM performance. She will even be performing the piece again at the Senior concerto concert on June 7. In this term’s 225th anniversary celebration, Stebbins performed for former President George Bush ’42, with fellow Fidelio member Ali Armstrong ’03. She called the experience “nerve-racking,” but values it as one of her most memorable Andover memories. Stebbins will conclude her PA singing career with a Senior recital on May 17. She will present a broad range of musical styles, including Mozart, Schubert, and Sondheim. However, Stebbins’ Andover career in the arts is twofold in nature. Also due to her mother’s involvement in theater, Stebbins did her first radio spot at age four and her first show at age six. She jokingly comments that during kindergarten, she had “the most important role” of her life as the title role in The Little Engine That Could. After enjoying widespread success prior to PA in shows such as Little Shop of Horrors, The Secret Garden, and some revues, Stebbins was slightly overwhelmed by the competitive nature of the Andover theater scene. She auditioned for large and small shows alike, winning the part of Antonia in the Theater 520 production of Man of LaMancha as a Lower. Stebbins earned a lead role in the Drama Lab Barefoot in the Park, and after returning from France, gained a place in the cast of Instructor in Theater Jean St. Pierre’s winter production of All My Sons. She immensely values both experiences, especially the opportunity to work with St. Pierre, whom she calls a “goddess.” Stebbins will continue to pursue both singing and acting at Harvard and in the years ahead. She hopes to receive a Fulbright Scholarship in order to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She plans to “oscillate among theater, musical theater, opera, film, writing, directing, and whatever else” catches her fancy.