Rylie Hineman’s pipes are powerful. Her voice is strong and resonates long distances, easily reaching across Douglas High School’s empty auditorium.
Standing onstage in a circle of illumination cast by a glowing spotlight, Rylie, wearing a tie-dyed blue T-shirt and jeans, takes a few deep breaths and shakes her hands loosely to relax.
She starts to sing. Emotion is written all over her face. The sound of her incredible voice is a balm to the ears.
The 18 year old’s voice is intoxicating as she carries the notes of the song Quando M’en Vo, an operatic piece from La Bohème, written by Giacomo Puccinthe and notably one of the most challenging genres of music out there.
“It’s an Italian opera from the late 1800s. The song is about a woman wanting her man to notice her, because the man she is with does not love her,” Rylie said
Rylie performs opera to challenge her vocal range, pushing herself further than she ever could have imagined before. Her singing career began in earnest in high school choir following a wrestling accident.
“I fell in love with music around 10th grade. I wasn’t wrestling anymore and choir became an option.”
She began singing Christmas and gospel music as part of a choir, then ventured into solo performances at the state level.
DHS Vocal Music Instructor Randy Gifford said Rylie has been a delight to have in his class.
“She’s a great leader in choir and will be missed,” Gifford said.
Rylie’s accomplishments during the last three years are impressive, he said. “She auditioned, was accepted and participated in the All-Northwest choirs in Portland twice, as well as participating in all-state.”
Rylie recently received an outstanding soloist award at the UNC/Greeley Jazz festival April 25, where the DHS jazz choir Hamilton Boulevard received the highest ratings at one of the biggest jazz festivals in the country.
Before long, Rylie will venture away from Douglas to follow her passion.
In August she will attend the University of Wyoming in Laramie where she’ll pursue a bachelor’s degree in music education.
She wants to teach and share her love of music. “I’d like to be an influencer on other people and leave that kind of mark.”
Gifford said she’s got God-given talent that is a joy to work with.
“Rylie (is) highly motivated to succeed and this motivation has been infectious in the groups she’s been a part of,” he said.
Rylie will graduate from DHS May 12 and said the end of her high school days are kind of surreal.
“Right now,” she said, “everything is centered on music. That’s my future and I’m willing to fight for it every step of the way.”