Exciting People of Pelham: Athena Woodfin and the Fan-dom of the Opera


Photo by Lucy Edmunds

Senior Athena Woodfin performs an aria from “La Boheme” at the Winter Assembly.

Lila Caminiti, Managing Editor, Sophomore

Many Pelicans enthusiastically pursue their love of the arts within the walls of PMHS. However, one young lady with a big voice is pursuing a dream of filling opera houses by studying outside of school and turning her dream into a reality. While balancing a rigorous curriculum here at Pelham, senior Athena Woodfin also studies at Juilliard Conservatory. Julliard, which houses one of the nation’s most renowned music programs, is located in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, just in the shadow of the Metropolitan Opera.

Athena takes weekend classes at Julliard, where she majors in classical voice. Athena has been doing this since junior year and is motivated by her love of the arts, specifically voice. She has been passionate about performing and participating in theater from a very young age. In fact, middle school and Sock ‘n’ Buskin audiences will remember her for roles in shows like Shrek, Barnum, and last spring’s Hello, Dolly! where Athena played the title role. A school trip with Mrs. Abeshouse’s chorus sparked Athena’s interest in performing classical pieces.

“I’ve been interested in music for most of my life. I’ve always done shows in school, but when I saw my first opera with the chamber chorus, I fell in love with the genre,” Athena said.
…..While most PMHS students are relaxing on Saturday, Athena spends all day taking classes. Her schedule includes ear training, music theory, and language diction. Classes begin at 11 a.m. and end around 6 or 7 p.m.

“I’ve learned so much about music and my skills have improved a lot. It’s also fun to get to meet a lot of other amazing musicians at the school, as well as making new connections and friendships,” Athena said.

As transformative as the Julliard program has been for Athena’s skills, she admits that it wasn’t an easy process to begin. But, after attending an audition for the program last September, she received a callback which ultimately led to being awarded one of only twelve coveted spots at the classical voice pre-college program.

“Studying at Julliard has prepared me tremendously for college applications, and getting ready to do more rigorous vocal training,” Athena said.

Athena has applied to Julliard’s college program and has an audition in March. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in opera, through both performing in professional opera productions and teaching voice to younger students.