By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN On stage and behind the scenes, Holy Trinity High School 2017 alumna Julia Pelzel knows what it takes to make a successful theatre production.
She’s interned at Northern Light Opera Company in Park Rapids the past two summers, and also recently acted in “My Fair Lady.”
“It was very fun, even though I only had a few lines [as the Queen of Transylvania],” Pelzel said. “The dress they had me in was so beautiful it was an old wedding dress.”
The cast performed “My Fair Lady” seven times between July 27 and Aug. 4. Sometimes known as “the perfect musical,” the show is about a professor who takes a bet that he can transform a working-class girl into a lady fit for an Embassy ball.
As part of the ensemble, Pelzel enjoyed all the songs that went along with the play. She has a versatile voice, and is able to sing both soprano and alto.
“I’ve been involved with music forever,” she said. “My family has been blessed with musical talent.”
In 2017, Pelzel, her dad Ken, and her sister, Gwen, sang the national anthem at the Winstock Country Music Festival. Pelzel’s mom, Lori, is also a singer. Ken plays guitar in addition to singing, and Gwen studied music therapy after graduating from Holy Trinity in Winsted in 2010.
At Holy Trinity, Pelzel loved participating in choir and playing flute in the high school band. She’s been playing piano for the past seven or eight years, too.
“I didn’t find time to do drama during the school year at Holy Trinity [because I was busy with sports and other activities], but I’ve been doing plays since 2012, mostly during the summer when I had the time,” Pelzel said.
She started out with community education theatre at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District, and did her first play with Northern Light Opera Company in 2015.
“They have a huge fan base, and always put on a good show,” she said.
The Northern Light website notes that their productions are known for “excellent scenic and costume design, and fluid staging.” Pelzel heard about the internship opportunity with Northern Light from her aunt, who lives in Park Rapids. As a technical intern, Pelzel focused on the behind-the-scenes aspects of theatre.
“This past summer, we built risers to fit 300 seats,” Pelzel said.
One thing she learned is that there are numerous safety regulations that need to be followed when doing this kind of work. The platforms, for example, need to be built to handle a large amount of weight.
Now that her internship has ended, Pelzel is starting her sophomore year at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson. She has been taking piano and voice lessons there, in addition to general education classes.
For her last two years of college, she plans to attend either Bemidji State University; Minnesota State University, Mankato; or Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. Her goal is to major in music education, and pursue a career teaching music at the high school level.
“I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since about seventh grade,” Pelzel said. “Every time I’d envision my future, I’d be sitting behind a piano and teaching.”