By Shari Goldstein Stern
Five years ago, at a time when 13-year-old girls were listening to Pink, Bruno Mars and Demi Lovato, Southlake’s Jayden Goldberg was taking the stage at the Majestic Theatre in Downtown Dallas to perform the role of Betsie Ten Boom in The Weaving. It tells the story of Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who helped over 800 Jews escape the Nazis during the Holocaust.
She described Ten Boom’s life as a weaving, a tapestry of good, light threads and difficult, dark threads. The dramatization featured original music and choreography mirroring the journey of Corrie as she and her sister, Betsie, brought light and hope into the darkness of the Ravensbruck Camp in World War II Germany.
“They wrote in an angel scene to add Jayden’s solo of Ave Maria after Betsie’s sister died,” said Jennifer Goldberg, Jayden’s mother. That was the level of emotional material this then-eighth-grader Jayden expressed with her gift of voice.
Now, as an 18-year-old, Jayden has friends who are into Ariana Grande, Cardie B. and Drake, while the young classical musician sees to final details for the Sunday, May 20, Share the Passion Benefit Concert she is producing as her Senior Capstone project at Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts (FWAFA).
A Senior Capstone project is typically a presentation of an idea or belief about which the student is passionate. Jayden chose to combine her passion for classical music with her goal to provide school-aged children from low-income homes exposure to the art form through the Share the Passion Benefit Concert.
The organizer recruited talent from among her performing peers at FWAFA. They will join her in singing a repertoire of classical music and Broadway show tunes. All performers and concert benefit support staff are volunteering their time and talents for Share the Passion.
“The Fort Worth Opera has a program that brings kids to final, full dress rehearsals for $5, called Opera’s Student Night at the Opera Program,” Jayden said. “But students at Title 1 schools can’t afford to pay that. With this new experience, they are exposed to drama, acting, theater, art, costumes and fashion, and hearing opera at the same time. I’m mostly excited and honored to be able to put on this concert. I didn’t think it would be possible. My school was gracious in letting me put on the benefit there.”
Jayden performed Ave Maria again at 16, as an a cappella soloist at St. Peter Basilica in Vatican City. With her horizons already broadened, she became a God Bless America and Star-Spangled Banner soloist at Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers and Portland (Oregon) Winterhawks games.
The young lady started singing when she was 9. She channeled Katy Perry. But by 13, she was into classical music. She showed a propensity for it. “I just loved it. I understood it,” she explained. “Teachers said opera was my niche, and they encouraged me to pursue it.”
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel at FWAFA featured Jayden as Julie Jordan, whose If I Loved You was a fitting opportunity, along with the rest of the score, for her to tackle.
She was the opening act for Lee Greenwood at the La Quinta National Conference in Hawaii in 2014 at age 14. That year she performed in The Nutcracker at the Irving Arts Center. At 16, Jayden was back in Italy performing in The Marriage of Figaro at the Amalfi Music Festival.
As a contract singer with Fort Worth Opera’s adult chorus, Jayden performed in Don Pasquale and Carmen last year. “That was one of the biggest challenges I’ve had,” she said.
According to Jayden’s father, Wayne Goldberg, Jayden was the youngest chorus member ever to sing with the Fort Worth Opera while performing in Carmen. “She also performed this year in Don Pasquale and Frontiers,” he added. Both performances were with the Fort Worth Opera at Bass Hall.
Jayden was the cover for a new world premiere opera called The Falling and The Rising at TCU. She took first place at National Association of Teacher Singers this year. She was also a 2018 National YoungArts winner. All the winners spent a week in Miami in January and there, she was awarded second place overall for classical voice.
The National Honor Society student received a 2017 Outstanding Growth Artistic Excellence Award in Music Theory. Jayden is a nominee for The President’s Volunteer Service Award Silver 2018.
Jayden is one of only 20 nominees for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts recognition, with the winner to be announced soon. “This is the highest level of honor a high school student of the arts (voice, instrument, painter, sculptor, poet, author, dancer, musical theater, drama, visual artist) can earn,” her mother said.
The graduating senior has some big decisions to make soon. Eight prestigious music schools have accepted Jayden and offered her merit-based scholarships. Those include San Francisco Conservatory, New England Conservatory and The Boston Conservatory.
Jayden’s Share The Passion Benefit Concert will be held at 3 p.m. May 20 at the FWAFA, 3901 S. Hulen St. in Fort Worth.
All of the funds raised at the benefit concert will pay for tickets enabling children from financially disadvantaged homes to attend a final dress rehearsal for a Fort Worth Opera performance through the Fort Worth Opera’s Student Night Out Program. Transportation is included where needed, and arrangements will be coordinated by their schools.
“I’m blown away. I wanted to do a benefit concert. I want to give back to our community. The arts are going to rely on us to grow another generation filled with art and music,” Jayden said.
For tickets and additional information, visit sharethepassion.org.