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Add9 director Ben Worley works toward the opera world

Worley plans to attend graduate school for opera performance.


Senior Ben Worley is the leader of the a cappella group Add9 and an aspiring opera singer.

Mike Krebs/Senior Staff Photographer

Jan. 29, 2014

Music has always been a part of senior Ben Worley’s life, but perhaps never quite as much as it is now.

After three years of involvement with the campus a cappella group Add9, Worley is leading the ensemble throughout the year.

Worley discovered the group by chance when he visited MU during his senior year of high school.

“I actually came to Columbia for a music contest, and Add9 had a concert that night,” Worley said. “I went to the concert, and I was just blown away with how they performed.”

Worley became a member of Add9 after auditioning his freshman year. Last May, he was appointed president and music director of the group. He leads rehearsals and helps with the logistics of the group, such as booking shows and choosing music.

“It’s been an absolute blast from day one,” Worley said. “It’s a great place to network, and it’s a great place to make friends. It’s just fun to sing for people and make different sounds with our voices.”

Former Add9 director Christopher Higgins said the group is constantly evolving.

“The group is continuing to grow with the goal of being a competitive and entertaining a cappella group,” said Higgins, who preceded Worley.

Worley said he was raised to make music an important part of his life, but it was something he placed on the backburner up until he started college. In high school, Worley sang in a choir and performed in musicals but had always wanted to be an archeologist.

When Worley came to MU, he was given a scholarship that required him to be a music major, so he decided to double major with anthropology.

“When I stepped foot on this campus the first time, music was for the scholarship,” Worley said. “It was fun, and it was a way to let go and relax a little bit. And then there was anthropology, and that’s what I was going to do.”

It wasn’t until later in his first semester that music moved to the forefront when he was approached to play a character in the campus production of Gioachino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.”

“I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into,” Worley said. “I thought I’d sing a few notes and work pretty hard and just go with it. I ended up falling in love, and from that point on it’s kind of switched from anthropology being primary to anthropology being the secondary, back up.”

When he graduates in May, Worley plans to attend graduate school for music so he can eventually have a career in the opera world.

But for the time being, Worley’s enjoying every second with his on-campus a cappella group. It reminds him why he loves to sing.

“Add9 gives me more stage performance time, and as a singer, it’s tough to find that sometimes,” Worley said. “It really lets me let loose and get back to having fun while singing. Mind you, obviously opera and choir and classical music is a blast, and I love it, but Add9 is a different venue. It’s a different way to let go and sing some music.”

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Article comments

Feb. 2, 2014 at 12:50 p.m.

Nick Agro: Nice portrait, Mike Krebs! I was the photo editor back in 2010-2011

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