Katherine Ahmann ’21 on risk-taking

Katie Ahman SFCM Voice Student

The SFCM alum discusses talks about “Stay On It” and performing on stage again after lockdown.

In her own words, Katherine Ahmann (BM ’19; MM ’21) discusses the beauty of saying yes to new experiences and her wonderful role in SFCM Orchestra’s “Stay On It” film.

I’m afraid of growing old and having regrets about not acting upon what I want to do. I think it's important to take risks. That being said, putting yourself out there isn't always the easiest thing. I always try to remember that if there's something I want, I need to set all fears aside and go for it. I don't want to look back and think, “What if I did this audition, or what if I had gone through with this project?” That fear of regret has pushed me to go out of my way to take opportunities that have turned into wonderful experiences.

This past school year, I performed in “Stay On It.” This was during the time when San Francisco was super-locked down. Voice students could not sing–even masked–in a room with anyone. I thought it would be a really cool opportunity, but I didn't know if there was a way for me to participate if I couldn’t sing. For my audition, I recorded a video of myself dancing while speaking a poem and they welcomed me into the production. I was really grateful to be able to collaborate with all of the musicians and to dance on stage with them. Edwin Outwater had the idea to dub in my vocals after the filming, so I was able to sing a little bit after all. This project was something I'm so glad I did.

"Stay On It" was an emotional experience because a lot of us had not performed on stage in so long, but even more so because it was a new experience in how we were connecting with one another. Most of us are so used to how concerts are performed in the classical world—for us vocalists, we stand in the comforting crook of the piano and we sing. This was a completely different experience because we performed a combination of choreographed and improvised movement all while making music, the process bringing about a deeper connection to one another. The way Alexander Gedeon choreographed everything, the way he encouraged us to move on stage and to connect with one another was a very eye-opening experience.

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Watch the full “Stay On It” production.