The amount of different musical opportunities that UWEC has is not only unique, but has brought alumni, like Ian Rucker, continued success. As a 2019 UW-Eau Claire Vocal Performance graduate originally from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Ian now finds himself at Indiana University where he got his graduate school opera theatre debut as The Count in The Marriage of Figaro, an experience of a lifetime. With Indiana’s caliber of production set so high, Ian is proud of the many opportunities that UW-Eau Claire gave him to succeed in his musical journey.
While at UW-Eau Claire, Ian involved himself in a variety of activities that have contributed to his musical success. Whether it was in choir, Cabaret, a cappella groups, or shows produced by the Music and Theatre Arts department, Ian did it all. “I am so very thankful for every single experience. I feel that it is very important for a vocal musician in today’s world to be able to have a very diverse background in all different genres of music,” he said. Ian has found such solace in singing opera that it is now what he is dedicating not only his music career to, but his life. “With this everchanging world, I believe that singers must have a general focus, but also be able to apply their vocal technique to many different genres. Eau Claire helped me do that.”
Ian’s final performance opportunity at Eau Claire was one he will never forget. Ian describes that “portraying the title role in Don Giovanni in the newly-built Pablo Center was an amazing opportunity! It was such a great way to prepare me for the life of music and performance outside of UW-Eau Claire.”
Studying voice with Dr. Ken Pereira was one of the many activities that successfully prepared Ian for the "real world" when it came to singing. “Dr. P has experience in the world of singing, and all of his teaching philosophies prepare the young singer for what they will endure in the music business and more,” he said. After leaving Esau Claire and starting his graduate degree, Ian continued to see the things that Dr. Pereira prepared him for. “For instance, he gave us strict guidelines on how to prepare for a role and when I performed in my first leading role here at IU the process of character analysis and study that he gave us was exactly what was needed to succeed. I am thankful for such a teacher that not only pushes his students improve, but to succeed.” Ian Rucker teaches us that when you really take in the information given and apply it, there is no doubt that you will come out of UWEC better trained and better prepared.
Today, Ian is attending Indiana University and, this coming summer, will be attending the Aspen Summer Music Festival as a Renee Fleming artist, where he will be playing the role of Papageno in The Magic Flute, and the understudy of Tom Joad in the operatic version of The Grapes of Wrath.