By Marcy Patterson
Photos/Special to The Source Newspaper
Megan Heitbrink, of Jacksonville, is counting down the days until she graduates from Jacksonville High School and springs into the world of big music. Her life goal is easy, she wants to be “a performer with an opera company.” The steps to this are already planned in her mind; time just needs to move quickly so she can start checking things off of her very large and also very serious to-do list. Heitbrink merely wants to “attend University of Michigan, Oberland Conservatory or Cincinnati Conservatory and study vocal performance.” She simply wants to sing.
Moreover, she likes to sing. Heitbrink thinks she has always been singing, saying that she has been singing for, “as long as I can remember. I sang in church, I ssng the National Anthem, musical productions at the school, Lenz Field … I sing lots of places.” It is difficult to believe that this beautiful and soft spoken young lady is able to belt out the notes that have her preparing for her college auditions without much worry. Auditions start in January. Hers will be a decision based on, “best offers (and what is) best for her family. It will be a holistic decision.” Undoubtedly, Heitbrink will probably have difficulty deciding between the various offers which her skill and talent brings.
In the past year Heitbrink has been a winner in the Illinois Music Education Choral Festival and has received vocal music awards at the Interlocken Arts Camp. Her role model is Rene Flemming, a well-known opera star that started in a small town. “Rene has shown that anything is possible,” says Heitbrink. “You pick your dream and take the steps to make it come true.”
While other teenagers are enjoying life, Heitbrink is finding enjoyment through traveling to the Chicagoland area on a regular basis to be trained by her coach, Jennifer Fitch. This was more important to her than attending homecoming. She also babysits and she is part of the Role Models Encouraging Freshmen program at Jacksonville High School. Additionally, she is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and is a counselor at Green Pastures Performing Arts Camp. Fellow local talent, Ken Bradbury, said of Megan Heitbrink, “Despite owning a talent that could conquer any stage, Megan’s great joy is in watching our young campers succeed. I’ve got to practically break her arm to get her to sing when there’s camp full of little ones who want to get onstage. And let’s face it, the teen years aren’t exactly known for their level-headedness but in terms of maturity, Megan’s been 21 since she was 10. Yes, she’s nutty and hilarious, but her heart and head work well in harmony.”
Speaking of harmony and all other things musical, this driven young woman is bound to hit some high notes and high points in her life. We wish Megan Heitbrink all the best in her dreams to become an operatic singer. Break a leg, Megan.