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Breckenridge makes singing, acting go hand-in-hand

Morgan Breckinridge is seen here during one of her performances

Some students enter college knowing what their major will be, and some think they know and then change their mind; the latter has been the case for student Morgan Breckenridge.

A love of Broadway, music in general and a love of performing is what persuaded Breckenridge to switch her major from English-journalism (to pursue investigative journalism) to a music major with emphasis on performance.

Breckenridge felt that she did not quite fit into the role of journalist that she had originally sought when deciding to attend Western. She changed her mind after becoming involved in the music and theater departments.

“I love being around people who love music and love performing,” Breckenridge said.

Western’s music and theater department instructors Tee Quillin and Roger Hale are glad she changed her mind. To them, Breckenridge has proven to be one very talented young woman.

“She has an amazing voice, it is amazing to watch her work,” Quillin said. “She has just a simple, elegant quality to her voice.”

Breckenridge got her start in music at the age of 12, starting with voice lessons and then moving into church and school choir performances.

Hale believes Breckenridge has a beautiful voice that could go very far in the music world with continued proper training. Hale has worked with Breckenridge for the last three years. However, Hale says her voice is not the only thing that would help her in the music industry.

“Lots of people have beautiful voices like Breckenridge, but it her professional attitude that makes the difference,” Hale said. “She will go very far if this is what she wants to do.”

Breckenridge is now a college senior expects to graduate in December of 2013, and may continue in school to earn her master’s. She is currently working on her junior recital for her degree and is taking the semester off from acting. The junior recital is a requirement of the music degree and requires many hours of preparation.

Breckenridge and a friend now have their own band, “Shut Up and Love It.” They perform locally and play mostly popular music. While Breckenridge has a love of all music, she prefers to perform what she calls the “People’s Music,” which Breckenridge says is similar to music you would hear on the radio.

Music has always been important to Breckenridge, and once bitten by the performance bug, it became much more than a hobby. She began acting while in high school in Cameron, Mo.

During her time at Western, Breckenridge has performed in musicals such as Phantom, and most recently, last spring’s Little Shop of Horrors as lead role of Audrey. Breckenridge earned an Irene Ryan nomination through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for her role in the play, which allows her a chance to win a $500 scholarship.

Over this past summer, Breckenridge spent her time acting in the 2012 summer theater company Western Playhouse’s version of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Breckenridge played the role of Charlie Brown’s sister Sally, opposite Quillin, who played Charlie Brown. Quillin has both directed and acted with Breckenridge.

“She has such a natural talent with acting; if she would take it up professionally, with a detailed study of the field, she could be very successful,” Quillin said.

Some people that have influenced Breckenridge are actresses Meryl Streep and Judy Garland, musicians Maria Callas, Kristin Chenoweth and lead singer Erika Wennerstrom of musical group “Heartless Bastards.”

“These women have a take-me-as-I-am-attitude that I admire greatly,’” Breckenridge said. “You have to be capable of staying grounded, and learn not to take other people’s comments personally.”

Breckenridge has adopted that kind of attitude and feels she has learned to take people’s comments in stride.

“You have to be true to yourself,” said Breckenridge. “It is important to me to be comfortable in my own skin.”

Music and acting have always been fun for Breckenridge, and if given the opportunity, she would love to make performing her career. No matter what she does for a career, Hale believes Breckenridge will do great things in the future.

“I could see her moving to Kansas City or even New York to work on her music,” said Hale. “She is very teachable, she is willing to work hard, and with continued growth, she will go very far.”

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