Caitlin Redding’s homecoming includes benefit recital June 9

CHESTERTOWN — It’s so cliché, but it’s so true.

Caitlin Redding is living her best life.

“I couldn’t have imagined this. It really has exceeded my expectations,” said The Juilliard School-educated Redding, a classical singer whose craft has taken her across the globe and back home to Kent County.

“I’m really happy,” she added for emphasis.

This week Redding has performed as a guest soprano with the National Music Festival in Chestertown, including Friday night, June 7 with the festival’s symphony orchestra conducted by Richard Rosenberg.

On Sunday at 4 p.m., she will give a recital at Emmanuel Episcopal Church (101 N. Cross St., Chestertown) to raise funds for the lunches that the church provides to the NMF’s musicians. Her piano accompanist will be another local favorite, Margaret Blankenship of Crumpton.

The recital, open to the public, should last about an hour.

The Evening Enterprise caught up with Redding on Monday at the home of her parents Sharon and Steve Redding in Galena.

Caitlin Redding said she was looking forward to this week’s performances “because I think it’s going to be fun.”

“It’s always fun to get on stage to make music. It’s a natural thing that happens in the moment,” she said.

Redding grew up hearing her mother sing to her constantly with a repertoire that ran the gamut of “You Are My Sunshine” to”Dancing Queen” by the Swedish pop supergroup ABBA. 

Her grandmother Jean Lusby Wright still sings in the choir of the Kennedyville United Methodist Church.

The argument could easily be made that music is in Redding’s genes.

Her mother and aunt Donna sang together in church for years, and her father, despite what he says to the contrary, also can carry a tune.

Now 31, Redding remembers as a 5-year-old begging her parents for voice lessons with Bill Drazga, who insisted that she also learn to play the piano.

Redding still plays the piano, “but only for myself,” she said.

She briefly took up the flute for her middle school band.

Also while growing up in Kent County, she studied dance with Elaine Shiflett and Jennifer Tosten, providing a background in “movement” that has helped her to branch out as a singing aerialist — yes, that means on a trapeze.

“I think I always wanted to be on stage,” Redding told The Evening Enterprise, “and singing facilitates that for me.”

After attending local schools — Millington elementary and Galena middle — she matriculated to St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where the course offerings included German, French, Spanish and Italian in the modern language department.

She studied Italian all four years of high school, and now speaks six languages including Catalan.

Redding earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the humanities with concentrations in Italian literature and vocal performance (opera) from the University of Maryland.

She also holds a Master of Music from The Juilliard School in New York City.

Redding left Juilliard in 2016 with an advanced degree and a Novick Career Advancement Grant, a postgraduate financial award given to students to help them launch their careers.

Her next stop was Berlin, Germany.

Redding acknowledged “feeling a little aimless” after Juilliard.

“I was kind of looking for who I wanted to be. … I needed to get out of my bubble, and that (Berlin) seemed like a safe place to do that,” she said.

“For the first three months I couldn’t work (while her visa application was being processed), then when I could work I told myself, ‘I’ll stay until they kick me out.” And they haven’t kicked me out.”

Work still takes Redding to Berlin, where, for example, she has committed to a few operas and concerts this summer, but she lives in Barcelona, Spain with her musician husband Joan (pronounced [(d)ʒuˈan]) Cantallops.

Cantallops plays the piano and double bass, and sometimes accompanies his wife.

It’s not easy to make a living in the arts.

“So much of it is luck, being in the right place and having the right people see you,” Redding said. 

She wonders what her elementary school self who sang the national anthem for opening day of Kent County Youth Baseball would have to say now. Or her 10-year-old self who sang at Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s inauguration in 2003.

“I got lucky. I’m very lucky,” Redding said matter-of-factly.

A happy set of circumstances brought her “home” this time.

National Music Festival Executive Director Caitlin Patton and her husband Richard Rosenberg, artistic director, conductor and co-founder of the NMF, live just a couple of farms down the road from Redding’s parents.

Identifying herself as an opera singer, Redding initiated an email correspondence last summer when she found herself in Kent County at the same time the festival was here. They stayed in touch, and by October she had finalized a gig for June 2024.

How does it feel to come home?

“It makes me very emotional,” Redding said. “There’s so much of a community here that I’ve never found anywhere else.”

In coming back to Kent County, she said she feels loved and embraced, like she’s “back in a place where people give incredibly of themselves.”

Redding noted that her husband also has felt this kindness, goodwill and bigheartedness.

“I’m not saying this kind of community doesn’t exist elsewhere, but I’ve never experienced it,” she said. “I think there’s something we have here that is very special.”

Redding arrived in Kent County on May 31 and will be here until June 14. The plan is to spend as much time with her family as possible.

She has only two requests — homemade succotash with lima beans grown in her grandmother’s garden and a Baltimore Orioles baseball game.

Redding already has checked off the first box, and has tickets for the Orioles-Atlanta Braves game on June 13.

****

The National Music Festival, which runs from June 2 through June 15, is bringing together 28 mentors and 100 promising apprentices. All told, they will be presenting more than 30 events, ranging from majestic symphonies to intimate chamber music, pre-concert talks and master classes — plus dozens of free open rehearsals.

Concert schedules, tickets and festival passes are available on the NMF’s website, nationalmusic.us.

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One Response

  1. Congratulations on all of your successes Caitlin! I remember watching you grow up in Galena. My mom (Betty Carroll) just loved you and enjoyed listening to you sing and watching you grow. If she was still here, I’m sure she would have been there listening to you on Sunday. Keep up the great work!

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