Life After Sinatra
As her 11-year-old self watched Ariel, from The Little Mermaid on Broadway singing her heart out, she had an overwhelming feeling of inspiration. After seeing this performance, which she absolutely adored and fantasized about, she took the leap that would change her life forever. With the support of Ariel, she was going to do it: Something she thought she would never do. She decided to take part in the musical at her middle school, Junior High School 194. With this big move, she realized the talent that was engraved in her, and was one that she would carry with her from then on out.
“I remember how I felt when I heard someone sing on stage with an orchestra for the first time. It was breathtaking. I knew in that moment that that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to make people feel the way those performers made me feel,” says Frank Sinatra Alumni, Georgia Smalios.
Keeping her talent alive after middle school, Georgia attended Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), 2011-2015, in pursuit of her passion. She knew that music was her calling and FSSA was the start of this dream for her.
“Attending Frank Sinatra reinforced the idea that I wanted to be a singer and made me want it even more,” says Georgia.
Georgia loved the liveliness of Frank Sinatra from her freshman year all the way up to her senior year. The feeling of the arts was in every little corner of the hallways and classrooms for Georgia.
In regards to her studio classes, Georgia took the music theory courses all four years and was a part of small ensembles: Chambers and Opera, and large ensembles, Concert Choir, Songbook and Women’s Choir. During her Junior Year, Georgia was an ensemble member of the school musical, Little Shop of Horrors.
Although she thought Musical Theater was her calling, retired teacher, Mr. Sandri, his incredible personality, and his Opera class, altered her course during Senior Year.
“They decided to put me into Mr. Sandri’s opera studio class instead of chamber choir. I was so angry because I had no idea how to sing opera and had never actually seen an opera before. As the year went on, I discovered that opera was actually my strong suit,” says Georgia.
FSSA planted the seed that helped Georgia and her passion for music grow enormously. She took any opportunity that came her way to learn new things. She worked hard throughout her years at Sinatra, trying to engrave music into her life. The hard work and dedication especially paid off when she went on to be the only vocalist to win the Concerto Competition in 2015 at FSSA.
Georgia graduated in June 2015 and when this time came, she took more than the typical high school memories with her. She had valuable lessons from her music classes and all the teachers she had the chance to work with. One of the biggest lessons that she took with her as she pursued her dream was how to perform.
“Frank Sinatra taught me how to perform. It gave me an opportunity to experience what it’s like to perform on a professional stage, which immensely increased my passion for music and performing. Anyone can get up on a stage and sing a song, but Sinatra taught me how to express one and how to transform onstage. I did learn how to be an extremely good actress,” Georgia says.
As Georgia said goodbye to the closed chapter of high school, she welcomed the new chapter of her life the following year at Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music. Throughout her two and a half years there, her eyes and heart widened for music and she continued to learn more and value every minute of it.
“It is amazing how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve progressed on my instrument. I now understand the art in a completely new way, which helps me to appreciate it more,” Georgia shares.
Music has endless opportunities to stat alive within you. With the abundance of opportunity at Aaron Copland, Georgia is currently double majoring in Music Performance and Music Education. She hopes to share the world of music with others by teaching for a living, while continuing to auditioning for performances on the side.
No matter what your passion is, it is something that lives with you forever and continues to grow as you do. It gives you a sense of home and meaning in the huge world we live in. Music is Georgia’s escape and is with her whenever and however she may need it.
“I can’t even begin to describe how music has affected my life, mainly because it didn’t just affect it, it changed it entirely. Music has been the one constant good in my life. Whether I feel like I’m on top of the world, or if I feel like the world is crashing down on me, music is always the one thing that is there for me. When I’m having a bad day and I sing or compose or listen to music I immediately feel better,” she said
– by Elizabeth Tsouristakis ’18