In this December’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” the choir will host some visiting talent –– Nick Nestorak ‘11 is returning to campus this year to sing a solo.

Nestorak said he first sang in the “Messiah” his sophomore year of college.

“At the time it was really nerve-racking,” he said. “It was one of my first opportunities to sing with an orchestra, in front of an audience, as a soloist.”

The “Messiah” is so well-known and has been sung by so many professionals that Nestorak considered it, “an honor and a weight on [his] shoulders” to have the opportunity to participate.

“I’ve definitely grown as a vocalist since then,” Nestorak said. He sang the opening tenor solo and said it was exciting to open the entire performance. Even four years later, Nestorak said he could sing his “Messiah” solo every day and never tire of it.

“I hope to perform the ‘Messiah’ a lot more in my career,” Nestorak said.

At graduation he was told to keep the winter of 2012 open on his schedule because the music department wanted him to return and sing. He and Associate Professor of Music James Holleman will be deciding what he will be singing this year, but so far he has been asked to learn everything.

Nestorak said on a scale of one to 10 of difficulty, his solo in the “Messiah” is a seven.

“There are a lot of very long phrases,” Nestorak said, explaining that longer phrases require not only excessive breath, but also the ability to keep up with quick notes.

“It is very impressive if done well,” said Nestorak. “I’m excited, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also overwhelmed.”

Due to his auditioning season, he is extremely busy and may be driving back from New York the day before the performance. Nestorak has called Hillsdale home since 1990 –– long before he attended the college.

“It’s cool to come home. I get to see my parents and my sister,” he said.

Nestorak didn’t start out pursuing a career in opera. Although he had been in choir since kindergarten and even auditioned at state level choirs in high school, his first formal voice training came from Teacher of Music Melissa Osmond.

“She helped me a great deal with the basics, which is important in any performing career,” Nestorak said. “I received a very well-rounded education in music history, and good repertoire.”

Hillsdale enabled Nestorak to meet people at the University of Michigan where he is currently part of their School of Music Theatre and Dance, studying for a masters in music. On Nov. 9 and 10 Nestorak will play Don Ottavio in “Don Giovanna” at the University of Michigan.

“They have a very, very good music program,” he said. “I think it is one of the top five opera schools in the nation.”

At Hillsdale, Nestorak said he received a lot of support and that is what encouraged him to further his career.

“I got a lot of positive feedback,” he said. “One of my fondest memories was when I did finally make my decision [to pursue music after college]. Two hundred people went to my senior recital. It was very heartwarming.”

In the future, he would like to get involved with the Young Artist Program where he can train with an opera company and work with professionals.

“I really like to sing. I studied it so much and it is important to me,” Nestorak said. “I’ve really enjoyed the trip so far.”