When local standout Bel Canto singer Heidi Krause delved into musical endeavors as a child, she started with the violin and piano until she soon found her calling in vocal performance.
One of the main reasons Krause turned to singing was because her mom Wilma found Camille Fredericksen, a well-respected Bel Canto teacher and performer to help guide and mold her talents.
“When I really got into singing and was doing it for a couple years, I noticed my voice was so free to do anything and could sing anything that I wanted,” Krause said. “That kind of made me have a passion for it and really start studying it. My teacher helped me with that. It just takes patience to figure out how to do it. It starts out pretty complicated.”
Krause said of Fredericksen: “We’re really good friends now, and we connect with the singing that we do. “We sing duets together. It’s nice singing with her because we both know the technique really well. She lets me sing anything I’m capable of.”
Bel Canto is an Italian type of vocal performance created in the 19th century. Krause said the singing technique isn’t meant to be belted, but is rather more soft and sophisticated.
“It just enhances your pure voice,” she said. “(Bel Canto) is finding your voice and what color it is, if it’s more rich or light. It’s kind of like when the birds sing so effortlessly. Singing is supposed to be projecting your voice in a beautiful melody but not hurting it.”
Krause began studying the technique with Fredericksen about 10 years ago and first performed in front of an audience at age 10. Now she’s performed up to 50 times by the age of 17.
When she was younger, she performed in youth programs for the Seattle Opera and also did master classes and diction classes with opera singers. She is one of the leaders in the North Kitsap High School choir; taught by longtime choir director Sylvia Cauter before she retired last year.
“She was the one who got me out of my comfort zone to sing in front of students regularly,” Krause said of Cauter.
As a freshman, Krause earned first place for vocal performance at the Kitsap Musical Teachers Association competition. Last year, she took first place in high school choir regionals for solo & ensemble and finished third in state in soprano voice. The NK Bel Canto ensemble took first place at state last year.
Krause reflected on her progression as a singer. “The voice of a child is so effortless because they don’t think about it too much,” she said. “I listen to myself when I was little, and I’m like, ‘Woah, how did I sing so good?’ It’s the middle ages that are most difficult; kind of filling your voice for the bigger person. There are new levels every time I perform.”
Recently, Krause, her brother, Zuriel, friend Ava Jamrock and Fredericksen held a concert at Rolling Bay Hall on Bainbridge Island for seniors. Zuriel is a freshman at NK High and is also in the choir program. Heidi and Zuriel have a bit of a sibling rivalry when it comes to singing.
“Sometimes I feel like he gets a little bit jealous,” she said with a laugh. “He will have his time.”
Krause and her family will soon be moving to Italy as her dad just received a job offer there. She wants to attend college or a music conservatory to continue pursuing her dream as a Bel Canto singer, although she is not sure where yet.
“I think this is my thing that I’ve found,” Krause said. “If college turns out good, and my singing is still good, I think I will do it. Italy is the place where Bel Canto was born, so I think there will be a lot of opportunities there.”