Meet Ryan Foley, a senior at Connecticut College who is a member of our only all male a capella group, Co Co Beaux, and was recently named a Winthrop Scholar. Read below to learn more about Ryan!
Hometown: Wolcott, CT
Class Year: 2013
Major: Economics & Music Double Major
Extra Curriculars: Professional Opera & Classical Singing (Connecticut Lyric Opera, Yale Opera, Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra), Co Co Beaux, Coffee Grounds Barista, Chamber Choir, St. James Church Choir Section Leader, Into the Woods (Musical), Voice Lessons, Yoga
What is it like to be part of one of the most recognized a capella groups at Conn Coll, Co Co Beaux?
It’s actually made my college experience; I considered transferring freshman year, but Beaux is the reason I didn’t. While rehearsing and performing with the group is important to me, I think most of us value the social aspect of the group even more. We travel a lot together, from doing gigs at other colleges and experiencing their social scene, to killing it in some tropical destination over spring break. I’ve become close friends with guys who are so different from me, guys that I would have definitely never met if it weren’t for the group. When it comes down to it, we’re just a bunch of guys who like hanging out with each other and use singing as a reason to do it. Beaux is 100% what I’m going to miss most about college.
Tell us about your senior recital!
Opera’s my thing. I’ve been studying classical voice for a while now, and on Saturday February 23rd at 7pm in the Chapel, I’m putting on my senior recital, which is the culmination of my music major. It will consist of my favorite pieces of my career so far, along with a couple crowd-pleasers: I have the solo in a Johnny Cash arrangement that I wrote for the Beaux. Come check it out! It’s free to all, will be less than 45 minutes, and you can start your Saturday night pre-game with a wine and cheese reception following the concert.
Were you expecting to be named a Winthrop Scholar? How do you feel about being named one?
I wasn’t expecting it at all. They are usually named around December, and seeing I didn’t hear anything last semester I figured I didn’t make it. The other scholars that I know are brilliant and are going to do amazing things with their lives; I feel humbled and honored to be named alongside them.
Would you consider becoming an opera singer?
Well, I am an opera singer! Connecticut Lyric Opera hires me regularly to do roles with them, and Yale recently hired me to help out with their graduate school production of “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” (“The Capulets and the Montagues”…an Italian opera version of Romeo and Juliet). As of now, I’m going into in finance full-time in NYC, but if I can find professional work on the side in Connecticut, I can definitely find some professional work on the side in NYC. Luckily, as a bass, I don’t reach my prime until I’m middle-aged, so if I want to pursue opera full-time after 10 or 20 years in finance, I have that option. We’ll see what happens!
We’ve seen you around campus riding your bike. Are you an avid bike rider or just like getting to places faster?
I wish I could say I’m an avid biker. I bike a lot at the gym because I can read on my Kindle while I’m doing it. But I pretty much just use it to get places quickly. I’m pretty busy, I put the 30-45 minutes saved every day to good use.
We heard you were a huge Mario Tennis fan. Is it true?
Ah yes, it’s true, I’m a massive fan. I’m probably a bigger fan of Mario Tennis than I am of opera. I’m currently looking for [adept] opponents; the competition around here has been scarce lately. But really. I’m serious. Hit me up if you want to play. Daisy and Waluigi will be ready for the challenge.
Do you play ‘real’ tennis?
Sadly, not really. I try on occasion. I worked at a summer camp for a bunch of summers, and there’s a 10-year-old girl from Spain who’s pretty much a tennis prodigy, and she usually beat me. That about sums it up.
Do you have any pets?
I have a black labrador retriever named Newman, who I miss as much as my immediate family. I also used to have 4 pet mini-frogs named after the Teletubbies. Sadly, only La La currently remains.
What has been your favorite memory at Conn?
When I got into Beaux. The night itself was a ton of fun, and it began the overall highlight of my college experience.
Could you share with us your most embarrassing moment?
Pretty much the entirety of being bald last semester. I played an old, ugly military general, which required a shaved head. So. Many. Head lice jokes.