By India Pilgrim

While watching “The Magic Flute” by Mozart on PBS at just six years old, Rachel Holmes knew she wanted a career in opera and that decision has never wavered.

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Rachel Holmes recently took over the position of opera director at Reinhardt University. Her role includes making sure students look great on stage and that they convey the stories they tell effectively. Holmes directs all physical staging, coordinates with lighting, costumer, set designer, choreographer, building facilities, advertising, stage managers, props and much more.

Holmes has spent much of her career working and studying music. Previously, she worked at the University of Delaware as an adjunct professor of voice, French diction and German vocal literature. For the last 10 years, she worked as a full-time freelance opera and musical theatre performer around the world.

Holmes has a master’s degree in vocal performance from the Ralph Opera Center at Colorado State University. She also completed her Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Georgia in 2018.

What brought Holmes to Reinhardt was her various connections to faculty and staff. She sang under the direction of Dr. Martha Shaw, professor of music, in the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir from fifth to 12th grade. Holmes is excited to be able to work with Shaw once again, now in a different capacity.

“The fact that Martha Shaw runs the choral department is really beautiful and full-circle for me,” said Holmes.

Holmes’ youth group director in 2004-2005 at Jonesboro United Methodist Church was the Rev. Jamie Hudgins, now Reinhardt’s campus pastor. Holmes also feels privileged to return to work as a camp counselor and music teacher for the North Georgia Youth Music and Worship Arts Camp, now held at Reinhardt, which she attended as a child.

With all her experience and expertise, Holmes hopes to be an asset to students and bring great works to audiences in Waleska and beyond.

“I feel that I am in a unique position to speak to how this profession currently operates,” said Holmes. “I hope to be a resource to the students, as they grow as emerging artists and enter the field upon graduation. I hope to bring engaging, beautiful, powerful and ultimately touching works to our audience base in Waleska and beyond, with interesting repertoire.”