by Gail McCulloch
At the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of Attadale on Monday, May 14, President Colin McCulloch welcomed guest speakers, Katja Webb and Kristin Bowtell as well as Bronwyn Carey.
Katja Webb has Australian parents and was born in Germany. After attending the University of WA where she studied statistics in German and at the same time did every Gilbert & Sullivan she possibly could as well as other musicals. She then spent three years studying at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). After spending six years auditioning for the WA Opera Company, she finally made it into the chorus. It took another two years before she started singing Principal roles. She also sang in choirs and concerts in Perth. To further her career, Katja entered competitions and applied for scholarships. This resulted in studying and performing overseas for a number of years. She has performed in Australia, UK and Germany since 2006, in all genres of vocal music from musicals through operetta to opera. She is also able to sing in a number of languages.
Kristin Bowtell loved to sing as a child but was disappointed not to be selected in a choir at the age of eight. Kristin played the flute through his years studying for a Bachelor of Music at the University of WA and in his last year started singing lessons and 'caught the bug'. He stopped playing the flute and was singing in lots of choirs. It is insecure to be a professional singer, constantly going from contract to contract which involves a lot of travel, spending a lot of time away from home. After returning from London to Perth Kristin started singing professionally. He is currently a conductor, chorus master, baritone and educator and also the Arts Administrator for the Academy of Performing Arts.
Attadale Rotary Club members were delighted to hear Katja and Kristin sing Edelwiess as a duet. This song was created for the 1959 Broadway production of 'The Sound of Music'.
It was also interesting to hear from Katja and Kristin just how difficult it can be financially to do the job you love, whilst living in Perth where there are few opportunities.
Katja Webb and Kristin Bowtell are pictured with Attadale Rotarian Patricia Robertson