Justin Witt to be featured Saturday at City of Hope Spectacular
Porterville native Justin Witt — singing “One Enchanted Evening” — will be featured Saturday during the 51st annual City of Hope Spectacular.
Born and raised in Porterville, Witt began to formally study voice with baritone Walter Farrell at age 12. When Farrell died, Witt continued studying with Farrell’s wife, Eileen.
Growing up, Witt took a liking to musical theater and performed multiple lead and supporting roles for several California companies, including Diesel in “West Side Story” with the Good Company Players in Fresno; Colin in “The Secret Garden” with Children’s Theater Network in Torrence and Northridge. Witt simultaneously trained in ballet with Pallas and Company in Visalia and appeared as Fritz in the Fresno City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker.”
A Monache High School graduate, Witt attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton on a voice performance scholarship in 2003, graduating in 2008 Magna cum laude with a bachelor of music degree, with concentrations in voice performance and choral music education. While in attendance, he played several roles in the Pacific Opera Theater, including Figaro in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and Aeneas in Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas.” It was during the same time frame, Witt also made his professional debut with the Stockton Opera, singing Prince Yamadori in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”
Upon graduation, Witt established the music program at Robert F. Kennedy High School. The following year he transferred across town and became the choral director at Cesar Chavez High School, growing its program from 35 to more than 115 students, and leading the school to its first superior rating in a California Music Education Association Choral Festival. Currently, Witt is attending Fresno State, working towards a master’s degree in choral conducting.