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EMAV 10 Bites: Keith Milkie, Opera Singer

In every neighborhood, there is someone who makes the Arts a part of their life, and our community. You'd be surprised to discover how many different people use the arts to improve the quality of life in our hometown. EAT MORE ART! VEGAS will feature them regularly in our series "10 Bites."

Like many visiting artists who travel to Las Vegas to collaborate with local companies, singer and musician Keith Milkie has found a new addition to his international collection of cultural homes with Vegas City Opera and their upcoming production of The Threepenny Opera; by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill at Charleston Heights Arts Center.

What kinds of art do you enjoy, create, or perform in?

I enjoy writing, music, acting, and athletics. These are all activities in which I find personal artistic expression and I try to approach each with a sense of beauty.

Why do you do it?

My father was an opera singer with the most beautiful baritone voice that I have heard. He and many others along the way made me believe that singing could take me places that I wanted to go in life and give me the experiences that I deeply wanted to have growing up. Looking back, singing and music has always brought me in contact with some the best people I know and provided the most fulfilling experience in my life, and this knowing keeps me doing it.

What’s your favorite production/performance experience so far?

In 2017 I was hired to sing the role of Dr. Bartolo in an uncut production of the Barber of Seville In NYC with Vocal Productions. The immensity of this role and my learning it was a huge accomplishment in my own eyes and then, as a young man, to bring this old man to life on stage every night with his cane and mannerisms was pure fun.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist, or what do you do when you are "at work?"

During high school I was a lifeguard for four summers. When I moved to NYC I worked with a fitness agency doing various print work as well as Big and Tall modeling for catalogue. This paid for my acting and singing education as well as housing at the time. As as volunteer this past year I have been happy to work with my local animal shelter in Kingman Arizona providing what I can in walks and time with the dogs in need.

What is an arts experience that you will never forget, or a memorable response to your work?

I once gave a recital at the Brooklyn Library in NYC with my dear friend, mentor, and Pianist James Besser who past one year ago this last September. As a side note, he gave me more in Artistic and musical education than most people get in a lifetime, and I am forever thankful to him. After this recital in which I had sung a number of pieces including Soliloquy from Carousel, an older women in her 90’s waited with her nurse to speak to me and she said, “When I was seven and my brother 12, he used to love the musical Carousel and singing Soliloquy, and at that age he was as tall to me as you are now. He past away at the age of 12 and when you were up there singing that song, in those moments I felt like he was with me again one more time.” This moment was a gift to me as a person and it made me realize the true power and ability that music has to transcend time and memory. In a world of ego and competition, her telling me this story made me actually feel as if I were doing and giving something worth while and not simply trying to accomplish feats for myself. This is the memory I hold onto when I feel that there is no more reason to sing.

What would you be doing if you weren't performing, creating, or enjoying the Arts in Las Vegas?

After I left New York I feel I also left my chase. I began volunteering at my local animal shelter in Kingman Arizona and this work, giving to souls that truly needed, wanted, and appreciated every moment and deserved it, was fulfilling to me in ways that cannot be put into only a few words. If I were to stop performing Then my life would be a chosen creation of simplicity. I feel I would enjoy teaching and continuing to help where I can.

Name something you love about Las Vegas, and why.

The people of this city are a very unique bunch and I’ve experience a much more collective and driven energy in the theatre space than I have in the past in other places. I also love a good game of Roulette.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

From my teacher Barbara Marchant at the William Esper Conservatory In NYC on our last day together after three years of intensive study, “Keith focus on the work and keep working, do not worry about being famous.”

What superpower would you have and why?

My chosen super power would be to teleport. I have friends in many cities and many countries from my travels and it would be nice to see them more often.

What future projects are you looking forward to?

I will sing Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 7th at the Green Vally Presbyterian church in Las Vegas Nevada.

Are you a local artist of any discipline? Do you work with a company as a stagehand or administrative staff? Do you love to experience it as the audience? We'd love to get your 10 Bites to share. Fill out a form here, and you might be featured in a post!


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