The True Story:
The Opera Cowgirls started out by accident. Mezzo-soprano Caitlin McKechney was bartending at a dive bar in Brooklyn when Bucky Hayes, a singer-songwriter, asked her to open for his band. “Ummm… you know I sing opera, right?” “Yeah, it’ll be cool,” he answered. And thus, the Opera Cowgirls were born.
Since then, the OCGs have been delighting audiences with their clever blend of opera, country and rock, truly bringing Grand Opera to the Grand Ole Opry, melding The Three Tenors with The Dixie Chicks. Based in New York and often sharing a bill with indie rock and country bands, the Cowgirls are always a hit, with venues including the in-town Le Poisson Rouge, LIC Bar, Parkside Lounge, Pete’s Candy Store and The Slipper Room, and the out-of-town Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre (IA), Hopewell Valley Vineyards (NJ), North Beach Bandshell (FL), NightBlue Theater (IL) and Opera North (NH). They have attended Avaloch Farm Music Institute; toured Amarillo, TX; performed with renown musicians including Joe Brent (9 Horses, Oklahoma on Broadway), Philippa Thompson (Bang on a Can), Brent McBeth (Parallel Exit and Big Apple Circus), ARKAI Music and Hotel Elefant; and premiered Kirsten Volness, Kate Holland and Susan Werbe's Letters That You Will Not Get.
All professional musicians, the Cowgirls have individually performed with American Opera Projects, Harrisburg Symphony, Nashville Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera on Tap, Opera Philadelphia, PROTOTYPE, Sarasota Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Tacoma Opera, to name a few. Curious? Click on our photos below!
The Pro Bio:
The Opera Cowgirls are an all-girl band comprised of professional musicians Caitlin McKechney (founder), Sarah Beckham-Turner, Mila Henry, Maria Lindsey and Jessica Sandidge. Known for their ability to sing Puccini to Parton, the Cowgirls have performed in dive bars, jazz clubs and community events spanning the Texas Panhandle to the Sunshine State, the Big Apple to New England. With a combination of upscale voices and down-home instruments, this is truly where Grand Opera meets the Grand Ole Opry.
And now, meet the Cowgirls!
Caitlin McKechney, founding Cowgirl, rocks the guitar and banjolele (a hybrid of a ukulele and a banjo). You often hear her singing Carmen while flirting with unsuspecting beer-drinkers, or belting out some Patsy Cline. She has performed multiple times in both Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, but primarily on Mozart, Rossini and Bizet. She buys a new pair of boots each time she’s there, and now owns an impressive collection.
Soprano-extraordinaire Sarah Beckham-Turner brings us her cello skills AND her Texas street cred, providing us with bass lines and baselines galore. In addition to her star power and spell-binding ability to work a crowd, she is also mom to “Sweet Baby James” Turner, the most adorable little cowboy on the planet and the Official Opera Cowgirls Mascot.
Mila Henry is our piano-mini-accordion-autoharp-bells-ukulele-slidewhistle player, who occasionally lends her sugary voice to a song or two. She can seamlessly transition from an orchestral score on a keytar to an improvised melodica solo that would make Mozart swoon. Most importantly, she is our style guru and owns a magnificent number of vintage cowgirl shirts.
Maria Lindsey, our newbie Cowgirl, grew up in Colorado singing country music. After studying voice and becoming an incredible soprano, she waltzed on over to Tennessee and met Caitlin, who was singing opera on the side of a Memphis highway (this is not a joke). Maria joins us along with her dulcimer, Merlin, who magically taught her how to play in less than a day.
Jessica Sandidge is our California girl, gracing us with her mind-boggling high notes and Dolly Parton blend of strength and sweetness. She plays a beautiful Seagull Mandolin named “Pearl”, and also lends her sweet skills to our ever-evolving roster of tiny instruments. Always a rebel, Jess is a natural blonde amidst a brood of brunettes, which we think is super country.