Darren Templeton Captivates Audiences Both On Stage and Throughout the Columbus Opera Community

Darren performing National Anthem at Columbus Crew game

By Kelsi Moore, marketing director for Opera Columbus

Darren Templeton is a Columbus-based opera singer who has performed with Opera Columbus on the Ohio Theatre stage and throughout our vibrant Columbus community. He’ll be performing March 1-2, 2024 in Eugene Onegin presented by Opera Columbus, Columbus Symphony and CAPA.

Kelsi: What is your artistic background?
Darren: My mother was a voice major in college, and she was also my high school music teacher and early elementary piano teacher. I gained a keen interest in classical music, specifically oratorios, in my eighth grade year after hearing my first Messiah live. I was hooked.  I listened to Messiah over and over on a cassette I had bought in 1985. After several months I had memorized all four vocal parts of the entire work and then memorized the entire basso continuo. I continued to sing male soprano before my voice changed then majored in voice in undergrad.

After undergrad, I taught music/voice in elementary, junior high and high school for about five years. I felt a call though to serve my country in the military and wanted to join. So I first joined the Army National Guard, serving six years as a forward observer; then I joined the United States Marine Corps directly after 9/11. I served with the Marines for almost five years as a military policeman. I then had the itch to go back into music and work to pursue my true passion of singing opera. However, I was offered a chance to serve as a logistics officer with the U.S. Army and I took it. I ended up serving another 16 years and retired as a major after 27 total years in the military.

Darren performing in Rigoletto (presented by Opera Columbus, Columbus Symphony, CAPA); credit Terry Gilliam

Within the first year of retirement, I desired to finally pursue my passion for singing. I applied to The Ohio State University’s Master of Arts in vocal performance and was accepted in August 2022 where I will graduate this coming May 2024.

Kelsi: What has been your favorite performance experience in Columbus?
Darren: I would have to say that is a tough one as I am so grateful and humbled to be able to have wonderful unique opportunities this soon in my studies at OSU. But if I had to pick one, I would pick the performance I was in with Opera Columbus in Rigoletto last year, March 2023. Opera Columbus took a chance on me as a graduate student in the role of Count Ceprano in their production of Rigoletto. Singing with the most incredible, professional artists was unbelievably unique and life-changing.

To be sure, I took every opportunity I could get to learn and observe my fellow artists during rehearsals, role preparation and performance practices. I will never forget it. Of course, in a close second, I would pick the Columbus Crew military appreciation night’s national anthem performance opportunity I was granted to sing this past spring. What a true honor to represent Opera Columbus, our city, the team and our country.

Kelsi: What is your artistic process?
Darren: I learned different techniques and ways of preparing for a concert, recital and opera performances. There are many ways that one can and should prepare and have in their tool kit. I am still learning what works, but some things I have been successful in are not new or life-changing but simply involve hard work and doing the down and dirty research into what you are singing about. If it’s an opera, I really like to do a concurrent deep dive and research the time period in which the opera is set, the political/ artistic climate, who wrote it and why.

Kelsi: Who or what inspires you?
Darren: My wife and my parents truly inspire me. My wife has served in the military for over 31 years and is on active duty as a lieutenant colonel. Through extreme challenges in her young military career to today, she perseveres through everything, maintaining a strong mind, rises to any situation and serving tirelessly. My parents have always been inspirational to me. As a child growing up, watching dad work for IBM through the week and then come home and spend all weekend outside working in the yard and the woods to provide a beautiful 10 acres for myself and my four other brothers, was awe-inspiring. Mom and Dad worked tirelessly and selflessly year after year for us. I took that character trait into adulthood and am profoundly grateful for the role models they are.

Kelsi: What is your favorite restaurant in Columbus?
Darren: Firebirds in northeast Columbus. Love their seafood and steak meals!

Kelsi: What is the best thing about the art scene in Columbus right now?
Darren: It is the opportunities that many professional musical and artistic organizations afford young and emerging artistic talent. Not all major cities do this — champion their own artists — but I have seen Columbus invest in artists, like me. I am so incredibly grateful for that!

See Darren Templeton in action March 1-2, 2024 at the Ohio Theatre in Eugene Onegin presented by Opera Columbus, Columbus Symphony and CAPA. Tickets start at only $10. For more information, please visit OperaColumbus.org/Eugene.

This article is part of a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council as part of the Art Makes Columbus campaign. Explore a calendar of events, public art database and artist stories at columbusmakesart.com. To learn more about GCAC grants visit gcac.org.



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