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Katie Oates Small ‘06

Discovering your passion and being motivated to pursue it can often be two separate goals. Sometimes, it just takes one person to come into your life as a mentor for those goals to be realized. For Katie Oates Small ‘06, that person is HRA Chorus teacher, Robin Steinberger. 
Robin’s guidance and encouragement led Katie to become a professional performer and create her own opera company, Small Opera (SMOP).   
At an early age, Katie had always been surrounded by music. Both of her parents sang in church and school choir, so harmonizing in the car and around the house was a very common, fun occurrence throughout her childhood. This parental support for her musicianship and singing was amplified when Mrs. Steinberger led her in chorus and musical theater at HRA. Katie recalls fond memories of her roles in Once Upon a Mattress, Sound of Music, and Once on this Island as well as the adventures of singing at Kings Dominion, Special Regional and National Honor Choirs. She was so inspired that her senior thesis project was leading the Middle School Chorus. Robin had a profound impact on Katie, so much so that they still keep in contact.
After HRA, Katie earned her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, and followed it with a Masters in Opera Performance from Georgia State University. Her resume is extensive, having leading roles with Capitol City Opera Company, the Atlanta Opera Studio Tour, Peach State Opera and the Charlottesville Opera just to name a few. Not to mention some of her full operatic roles, including Charlotte (Werther), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Jo (Little Women), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Elizabeth Proctor (The Crucible), Pitti-Sing (The Mikado), Papagena (The Magic Flute) and Ruth (Pirates of Penzance). In 2016, Katie founded SMOP, which brings Nomadic Vocal Drama and pop-up opera to the greater Atlanta community! After relocating to Charleston, SC in 2017 with her husband, Ryan Small, Katie is happily expanding SMOP and it has been featured in the North Charleston Arts Fest, Piccolo Spoleto, and TEDxCharleston.  

In addition to being the Founder & Executive Director of SMOP, Katie has a full-time corporate job emailing attorneys for sourcing opportunities and business development. Her goal is to continue to bring pop-up opera to the community and make the classic art form fun, fresh, and accessible to all! To watch past productions and learn more about Small Opera, visit Follow Small Opera on social media to see what they’re up to next!