The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

Best of SNO Stats
2399
Published
Stories
591
Participating
Schools
350
Published
Schools
Publication Tips
We'll be the first to admit that getting your story published on Best of SNO is hard. We receive over 100 submissions per day, and only about 15 percent are selected for publication.

There are multiple factors that come into play when deciding if a story is Best of SNO-worthy. From engaging writing and unique angles to well thought out multimedia elements, more considerations are made than it might look.

If you're having a hard time achieving that Best of SNO distinction, check out our past newsletters to get a better idea of the type of content we're looking for.
March 21, 2024
January 26, 2024
November 16, 2023
March 1, 2023
January 10, 2023
November 1, 2022

Ella Villalón to star as Susanna in Austin Opera’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ in next chapter of eventful career

Class of 2015 alumna shares her secret to making it in the opera industry: treat your passion for music like a job
After+graduating+from+McCallum+in+2015%2C+Elena+Villal%C3%B3n+studied+at+the+College-Conservatory+of+Music+at+the+University+of+Cincinnati.+At+age+21%2C+she+won+the+Grand+Finals+of+the+Metropolitan+Opera+National+Council+Auditions%2C+one+of+the+top+opera+competitions+in+the+world.
Photo by Jiyang Chen, graphic by Theo Roe
After graduating from McCallum in 2015, Elena Villalón studied at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. At age 21, she won the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, one of the top opera competitions in the world.

Elena Villalón realized early that she wanted to pursue her passion for singing as a career. A class of 2015 alumna, she sang in the McCallum choir and studied voice all through high school. Voice teacher Angela Irving, who regularly works with McCallum students, remembers hearing about Villalón before she even heard her sing.

“I was already tipped off by Mr. Rudy that she was really talented, so I was already expecting to hear something amazing,” Irving said. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow, this is a really pretty voice. She has a special instrument.'”

It was like, little old me, 21, singing with the Met orchestra.

— Elena Villalón describing her experience winning the Metropolitan Opera's Grand Finals

Villalón worked hard and quickly made a name for herself, even singing at the opening of the AISD Performing Arts Center as a senior in high school. After graduating, she moved onto the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. At age 21, she won the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, one of the top competitions in which young singers make their names in the industry.

Story continues below advertisement

“I had a wonderful experience,” Villalón said. “The competition was wonderful, and I certainly felt supported at every level and stage, and they really wanted the best for us even though there’s a very high-stakes competition.”

Villalón was starstruck to be singing in the Grand Finals, but she knew she had to make the most of her once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“You sing the finals with full orchestra—the Met orchestra, which is one of the most premier orchestras in the country—so it was like, little old me, 21, singing with the Met orchestra,” Villalón said. “[It] was insane.”

Listen to the full episode of Feedback Loop for Elena’s take on her work ethic and what it takes to be a skilled singer in her field. The Marriage of Figaro, in which Villalón stars as Susanna, opens on Nov. 6 with the Austin Opera.

This story was originally published on The Shield Online on November 4, 2021.