One minute California Baptist University adjunct voice teacher Sarah Horn was sitting in the audience listening to Broadway singer Kristen Chenoweth. The next, she was onstage at the Hollywood Bowl singing a duet with the star, blowing away the 10,000 people in attendance Friday night.
“The experience was so surreal,” Horn wrote in a post on BroadwayWorld.com. “I know I will wake up thinking it was all a dream but then I’ll see the pictures and the video and realize it was really real.”
But the story doesn’t end there. Horn’s friend uploaded the video onto YouTube, where it racked up nearly 2.5 million views by Wednesday afternoon. TV stations, major newspapers, celebrity blogs, and musical theater sites scrambled to get interviews with the 26-year-old.
Arriving at the concert Friday night, Horn’s father surprised the family and a friend, Mike Kestler, with box seats, and after some ticket confusion, they swapped seats with another party and sat in the very front. Near the end of the concert, Chenoweth headed into the audience asking random attendees if they knew the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked. Horn, who was directly behind Chenoweth, eagerly yelled out, “I know the song!” and found herself escorted onstage. She said she felt terrified at first, but she had sung the song so many times it came naturally.
In the video, Chenoweth sang the first verse of the song, and as Horn belted the part of Elphaba, the crowd cheered in surprise. At one point, Chenoweth exclaimed “Holy crap, harmony!” as she was pitch perfect in their duet. The song ended to a standing ovation, with Chenoweth joking “Note to self: Don’t have anyone better than you come up here,” as Horn walked back to her seat.
Thanks to YouTube, millions have now seen Horn’s performance, making the vocal coach and conductor of Cal Baptist’s Chamber Singers the Internet’s latest singing sensation. Horn told the Press-Enterprise she knew she “must have made it big” when her church, Relevant, screened the video Sunday morning during the opening announcements.
Since then, Horn as been in contact with Paul Geller, the production director of the Hollywood Bowl, and is looking for an entertainment lawyer and agent as she considers more live performances. But even with her explosion of fame, she wants to take things slowly. “I want to make wise decisions, not impulsive decisions,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Horn said she owes her love of music to her parents: Her mom is a pianist and her father loves musical theater. She first performed in church at age 8, and as a child joined the Riverside Youth Theatre, where she is now the resident musical director.
In her post on BroadwayWorld.com, she said that after the performance, “my father reminded me that he had prayed 11 years ago that I would one day sing with Kristin Chenoweth. I smiled an even larger smile, grasped his arm, and asked him to keep praying impossible prayers because they just might come true.”