As mentioned in our July issue of Inside Indy Terrace, Austin Opera has created a Re-Opening Task Force of Trustees and advisors with medical and public health expertise to guide the development of new safety protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of both artists and audience members when we return to the Long Center in January 2021. A new member of this task force is Kathryn Grumley, serving as the task force’s Special Advisor.
Kathryn is a registered nurse who has been working on the frontlines of the pandemic, taking crisis ER and ICU COVID-19 assignments in Austin, Houston, Arizona, and Aruba. In addition to her career as an RN, Kathryn (or Kat as she is known at Austin Opera) is a professional opera singer! Kat’s talent for singing and interest in science and medicine during her childhood led her to explore both careers. She remembers being introduced to opera in second grade when her choir teacher played a video of Papageno and Papagena’s duet from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She was mesmerized and continued to develop her love of singing, eventually beginning voice lessons in eighth grade and has never stopped.
Kat has been involved with Austin Opera since 2013 when she attended the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction and won voice lessons with then General Director Joseph Spector in the auction. Thanks to her winning bid, she secured a role in The Manchurian Candidate as the Nominee’s Wife. She has since performed in Madame Butterfly (Kate Pinkerton, 2017) and La traviata (Annina, 2018) and has covered the roles of Anna Sorensøn and Mimì in 2019’s Silent Night and La bohème respectively. Kat will return to the Long Center stage again in November 2021 as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro. She has also been a featured performer in many Austin Opera community events including at La Noche de Opera and Opera Previews at Chez Zee.
“Working as a nurse I interact with all types of people from all walks of life. I’m able to pull from these experiences to better understand the nuances of the roles I sing and to portray a more authentic character. Having a dual career, I am able to connect with and help people in different ways,” says Kat.
We are thrilled and grateful to have someone with Kat’s dual skillset as a part of the Re-Opening Task Force. Her experience as a performer and expertise in today’s best practices in health and safety will be extremely helpful in developing a plan that keeps artists and audiences safe as we return to rehearsals, performances, and large gatherings.