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  WINDY CITY TIMES

IN THE LIFE Garrett Johannsen
by Molly Sprayregen
2017-04-12

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Garrett Johannsen—a Chicago-based, opera-singing tenor—has loved music since he was a young kid growing up in Schiller Park, Illinois. It began with playing trumpet in his high school band and singing in the school choir. When he decided to take private voice lessons on the side, he realized his true passion lied not only in singing, but in singing opera. Enchanted by the classical songs on which his voice lessons concentrated, he decided to focus most of his energy on honing his opera voice.

That focus has paid off. Johannsen has worked with some of Chicago's top ensembles, including the Lyric Opera Chorus, Bella Voce, The William Ferris Chorale, and Chicago a cappella. He has also joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in performing Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall and performed solo with a variety of symphonies.

He has been auditioning and performing since he earned his degree in vocal performance from Roosevelt University in 2006. He loves performing live, and, though he has not performed in one in a while, a cabaret is one of his favorite types of shows to put on. Johannsen loves the opportunity cabarets provide to put together an intimate night of music and songs that tell a story. Beyond that, Johannsen explained it is a great chance to get to interact with those who come to see him. "You are able to break the wall and communicate with members of the audience," he said, "And it makes for a more special and memorable performance that way, when it's smaller and more intimate."

Johannsen believes opera performances can appeal to people of all ages, and he wants people to know how much power and passion is involved. "Opera is very passionate singing," he said, "Opera is full singing; you're singing with your whole body. It's a very physical activity, and it's not just for the older crowd. I mean opera has been around for so many years and it is very diverse because it's performed in different languages. I think that it's really for anyone, young and old."

Johannsen is always performing. For updates on future performances and to see videos of his past work, check out GarrettJohannsen.com/ .

THE STATS

- Age

34

- Job title

Professional singer

- Orientation

Gay

- Hobbies

Playing pool

- Neighborhood

Uptown

- Favorite note to sing

A flat

- Favorite musician

Jonas Kauffman, a popular German tenor

- Favorite TV shows

The Walking Dead, Property Brothers

- Favorite movie

"I don't watch too many, but I really enjoyed La La Land."

- Little-known fact

Shoe size is an 11


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