Thornton Academy student pursues opera career

Since moving to Saco from the country of China to attend Thornton Academy, Shanyu Li has discovered his voice and ability to sing opera.

SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Thornton Academy wrapped up its production of the Addams Family Musical Sunday night in Saco. The student playing the role of Lurch waited until the end of act two to show his hidden talents.

Shanyu Li, who's known as Kerrick at Thornton, has been rehearsing the role of Lurch with his 40 cast mates since January. He's not very comfortable with the acting and dancing, but is a stand out when it's his turn to sing. He discovered his voice talents three years ago in his home country of China where a coach put his concerns over a developing vocal range to rest. 

"I couldn't sing a lot of high stuff and I kind of questioned myself, including my parents and a lot of other people. Are you going to be able to sing? You can't hit a lot of high notes and my teacher, all my voice teachers, told me I had a very good gift and you need to keep training it," said Li. 

The high school senior stuck to that advice and developed into a gifted opera singer. Director of vocal music at Thornton, Catherine Murray, had the reaction anyone would when she discovered her student's abilities. 

"I brought him down to the auditorium and I just asked him to sing something to me and he sang Deep River and I was blown away," said Murray. "I had never heard anything like it. It was really really cool."

College is the plan for Kerrick once he finishes his last year of high school and he has impressive options. Acceptance letters have come from the opera programs at Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Michigan.

"To make it in something like opera studies is not easy and I'm excited. because I think he can do it," said Murray. "I really do think he can do it."
 
Li's dream is to one day sing with the Metropolitan Opera. 
 
 
 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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