October 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: Music: Opera: Broadway: Albany Democrat Herald: Micronesia RPCV Carrie Korn headed towards Broadway

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Micronesia: Peace Corps Micronesia : The Peace Corps in Micronesia: October 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: Music: Opera: Broadway: Albany Democrat Herald: Micronesia RPCV Carrie Korn headed towards Broadway

By Admin1 (admin) ( on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 1:36 pm: Edit Post

Micronesia RPCV Carrie Korn headed towards Broadway

Micronesia RPCV Carrie Korn headed towards Broadway

Micronesia RPCV Carrie Korn headed towards Broadway

New York state of mind

CORVALLIS Though brimming with vitality and only 28 years old, Carrie Korn nevertheless figures now is the time to be crossing items off her things-do-before-calling-it-a-life list.

To that end, the ambitious, adventurous opera singer is leaving the mid-valley next month for New York. There, the recent Peace Corps alumnus hopes to travel a road that will lead her to Broadway and, if everything goes perfectly, back to the Northwest to continue her career with the luxury of a maintaining a home base in her home state.

"I'm an Oregon girl," she said in the living room of her parents' home off Oak Creek Road west of Corvallis, punctuating her words with the engaging smile that's long been one of her trademarks. "This is where I want to live. But pretty much all opera singers have to do their time in New York."

Skilled at adaptability

Fortunately for Korn, the daughter of Howard and Susan Korn, she has a history of thriving in unfamiliar surroundings.

As a 14-year-old Corvallis High School sophomore-to-be, she made a summer trip around the Soviet Union with a musical troupe returning to the United States not knowing the U.S.S.R. would collapse three days later.

In 1994, when the time came to choose a college, Korn eschewed the university a few miles from her front door for the University of Oregon, earning a music degree in 1998, and then ventured all the way to New Orleans for graduate school.

In Louisiana, she picked up a master's in music while studying at Loyola University under Phillip Frohnmayer, the head of vocal studies at Loyola and the brother of UO President Dave Frohnmayer.

By then, though enthusiastic about many types of singing, Korn was hooked on opera.

"The demands are higher," she said. "It's kind of like a sport. There are rules you have to follow, and you have to get your technique really together. It becomes like a game, and you just get sucked in. You look at the people standing on stage and really admire their technique and skill, and you want to compete in that arena; you want to show you have skills also. It's infectious."

Upon completing graduate school, though, she wasn't yet ready to try her hand with the myriad opera companies in New York.

"I worked around town," she said, meaning New Orleans. "I was temping, singing at restaurants, kind of a roving singer. I sang the national anthem for the hockey team there, and I substituted for the cantor at one of the temples there, and I sang with the New Orleans Opera.

"I was 24 and I had a master's degree, and I just kind of hadn't caught up with the idea of all of that. I was doing young artist auditions, but then I realized I was kind of burned out."

Her life's fire was reignited, though, on a Mississippi highway.

"I rolled my car on the interstate," said Korn, who was unhurt but shaken. "It was really scary. It was a fluke, the middle of the day, but it definitely realigned my life.

"The Peace Corps was something I always wanted to do, and I figured I better do what I want to do before I run out of time. So I applied for the Peace Corps."

Ulithian odyssey

Her assignment was a tiny blip on the Pacific Ocean that all but the most avid geography buffs would be hard-pressed to locate on a map: the island of Mogmog in the Ulithi Atoll, part of the state of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The fourth-largest atoll in the world, Ulithi consists of 40 islets that together take up less than 2 square miles and have a total population of about 1,000. Two hundred people live on Mogmog, a place with no cars, minimal refrigeration and innumerable mosquitoes.

"I remember getting out there thinking, well, you got what you asked for what were you thinking," Korn said. "It was really an adjustment.

"But it was beautiful," she said. "It's hot, and life is very slow, and it's very community oriented. There are so few people you know everybody's back story, and out of courtesy there are certain things you just don't say or do. It's very non-confrontational. You just walk away out of respect for other people's feelings."

On Mogmog, Korn taught in an elementary school and helped run a library, among other tasks.

"The most exciting thing I did was co-teach a women's health class," Korn said. "I been just dying to share information about women's health, knowing their daughters didn't know about safe sex, how to get pregnant or not get pregnant. I got to say what I had to say to the people I needed to say it to."

Vocal reconditioning

Korn returned from Mogmog on Aug. 16 ready to resume her singing career. In early September she began working to recondition her voice with Janet Hackett of the Oregon State University music department, and the pair mapped out a plan they hope will lead to employment in New York.

"I didn't realize how good of shape I'd been in until I wasn't," said Korn, who did little singing during her Peace Corps stint. "My teacher said if I work really hard I can start auditioning next summer, so I'm working really hard."

When her voice is ready for opera's demands, Korn will begin the labor-intensive proposition of trying out for the small roles the companies have available. For every 500 auditions, two might result in jobs.

But she's willing to endure the rejections and, of course, the cross-country move because they will be hardships endured in the pursuit of long-held aspirations.

"Going to New York, that's the second thing on my list of things to make sure I get done in case I run out of time," Korn said. "I have two goals. The baseline goal, the if-I-accomplish-this-then-my-needs-are-met goal, is I want to be on Broadway. I don't care if it's a tiny chorus role, I want to be there.

"The top goal would be finding an agent and being able to get steady work and being able to move out of New York and still be singing opera, and you can do that have enough representation to live anywhere and still be getting good work singing opera. But if I can accomplish the baseline goal I'll be happy, and anything else will be lagniappe, as we say in New Orleans something extra, like gravy."

She leaves for New York on Oct. 21 and is already braced for the uncertainty and excitement that are in store.

"I think it will be an adventure," she said. "I think it's as much going to a different culture as when I went to Micronesia. That's how I'm approaching it."

- By Steve Lundeberg. He can be reached at steve.lundeberg@lee.net or (541) 812-6110.

When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.
Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention
Governor Schwarzenegger praised the Peace Corps at the Republican National Convention: "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." Schwarzenegger has previously acknowledged his debt to his father-in-law, Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver, for teaching him "the joy of public service" and Arnold is encouraging volunteerism by creating California Service Corps and tapping his wife, Maria Shriver, to lead it. Leave your comments and who can come up with the best Current Events Funny?
 Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and can you come up with a Political Funny?

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Albany Democrat Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Micronesia; Music; Opera; Broadway



By Anonymous (ulithi-reserved02.telecom.fm - on Friday, September 14, 2007 - 12:32 am: Edit Post

Aight....yeah, I am from Micronesia and was searching through the web and found this. I am glad that I met Carrie Korn, the Peace Corp Lady stationing in Mogmog Ulithi. She was staying with an old grandma of mine whom passed away three or four months ago. I am glad that she is doing well and have an ambition that all i can say is Good Luck to you from all of us, your family here in ulithi.

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