Stefania Romaniuk, a sophomore vocal performance major at the Eastman School of Music, is involved in many extracurriculars including Eastman’s Students’ Association, Eastman Students for Social and Political Awareness and a member of a vocal trio called “The Babushka’s” that will perform an arrangement of Ukrainian christmas carols at Eastman’s “Holiday Sing.” As well as singing, she enjoys listening to a wide variety of music including Beirut, Uptown Sinclair, Ella Fitzgerald, Alexis Kochan – a Ukrainian-Canadian folk singer – and the musicals “Jane Eyre” and “Little Women.”

Why did you decide to major in vocal performance?

As a youngster, my parents stuck me in everything from piano, Ukrainian dance and Ukrainian school to swimming, Tae Kwan Do and figure skating, but singing lessons were the one thing I asked to take. Since grade six I’ve been performing in musicals, Gilbert and Sullivan productions, Ukrainian school St. Nicholas pageants and recitals, as well as competing in vocal festivals. In grade 11, I decided that I wanted to continue studying voice at the university level – singing is something that I would never want to regret not going for all the way. If there comes a point when doors start shutting, then of course I’ll take it as a sign I’m meant to do something else.

What do you enjoy about taking classes and lessons at Eastman?

The expectations here are so high, the result being that you are working with extremely talented, dedicated musicians. I am constantly in awe of what is achieved musically at Eastman! Even though there is hardly any time to do it, I love just listening to my friends play or sing (or compose!) – I am so lucky!

What are your goals in life?

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but the one thing I’m sure of is that I want to be a mother when I grow up. I could be very happy singing opera or musical theater or maybe working as an arts administrator. At some point I would love to sing at the New York City Opera, and after graduating from Eastman, I aim to work as an intern in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

What is your favorite book?

“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupry. You can read this book every year of your life and it will always be relevant and insightful.

As a singer, it’s important to stay healthy. Any advice for other students?

Sleep is the most important thing of all – it helps with everything from a cold to tired eyes to maintaining a healthy weight. Also, drink tons of water and have a humidifier in your room for proper hydration. Taking your vitamins is also important, and if you feel a cold coming on, immediately use Zicam nose wipes – they’re kind of gross, but I promise they will save you!

Kraus is a member of the class of 2009.

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