A vocal performance major has found success both in and out of the spotlight. Michael Vavases graduated from Reinhardt with a bachelor’s degree in 2019. He attended with his twin brother Josh, both as first-generation college students.
Since graduation, Vavases’ performance accolades include singing with the Atlanta Opera, the Peach State Opera, and playing Romeo in the Shakespeare performance at Capital City Opera out of Atlanta. He’s performed alongside performers with master's and doctorate degrees, “I am very proud all I needed was my Reinhardt degree.” He has upcoming tenor soloist performances in a music appreciation concert series, in the Capital City Opera dinner series performance of Puccini's La Boheme, and in the Choral Guild of Atlanta’s performance of the St. Cecilia Mass.
When Covid hit, performers were struck especially hard and had to find other means of financial support. Vavases says his musical background helps with the day job he secured managing mechanical engineers. “I am lucky to have not been a statistic. I think it's being a performance major that helped. My experience in music theory provided the ability to break down core structures and assimilate information. If you can do that, you can succeed in anything. Engineers who have some kind of liberal arts background have a foundation that makes them more capable and more understanding. Music is important and helps you become a whole person.”
Vavases has similar advice for students, “embrace the curiosity of everything. All of it is connected in some way. I'm successful as an engineering manager because I know how to create synthesis based on my experience as a musician. I can synthesize the information we get about vibration in a building’s fan system based on information learned in my brass methods class about partials within brass instruments.”
Vavases went to Cass High School which took him to an honor band clinic at Reinhardt. Afterward, he and a group of classmates all enrolled. Because Vavases had a tough family life he says this was a blessing, “I didn't know what my story was going to look like. When you grow up in an insecure environment, you look for security and that happened to be at Reinhardt. All of the success that I have experienced is at least in part due to the confidence I gained by going to Reinhardt. I'm definitely very proud of getting my degree from Reinhardt.”
While on campus, Vavases was a Resident Assistant for 3 years, and performed with the a capella group, wind ensemble, brass quintet, brass ensemble, chamber singers, and concert choir, was lead jazz trumpet player, and was a soloist in the first Screaming Eagles marching band. He performed as both a singer and a trumpet player at the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference. He says one of his best experiences was going to the Italian language opera intensive summer program where he explained, “I got to know some of the most incredible singers and professionals who ever lived, which is cool.”
Vavases now lives in Acworth with two other alumni from Reinhardt and says they are like family. His education didn’t stop after graduation, “I’m really good at learning. More than anything else I really enjoy learning.”