Marlaina Owens says she feels like she’s flying when she sings. She may well be. Owens knows she has a bigger responsibility than just singing a pretty song: “Why did the composer write this? Why this key? What was happening at the time?” she wonders.
The Richard Trame, S.J., Music Award winner studied operatic singing abroad in Salzburg and in Hawai’i, where she sang a role in German for a full-staged opera. During a semester exchange at Spelman College, a historically black college in Atlanta, she sang art songs with lyrics by African-American poets such as Langston Hughes. “I learned to understand the poem first before I learned the music,” she says.
At LMU, Owens was a senior recitalist and sang the national anthem at the graduate and undergraduate commencements. She also sang the national anthem and alma mater at Timothy Law Snyder’s 2015 presidential inauguration.
The work-study student capitalized on academic and extracurricular opportunities at LMU by following her mantra: “Just ask,” she says. “The worst they can say is no.”