A Winnipegger is among nine Canadian singers competing tonight in Toronto for big cash prizes and a position in the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio training program. 

Lara Secord-Haid is an opera singer from Winnipeg who is taking part in the competition for the second time. If she does well tonight she wins some cash but also a spot in the COC Ensemble. "It would be a fantastic opportunity to move to Toronto and be involved with this company, and continue learning and honing my craft in such a great environment," she enthused. "Living in New York, I meet people all the time who have done this program and so it's certainly revered."

She says she was introduced to opera at home. "My dad was an opera lover. He had opera on in the house all the time," she recalled. "Some of my earliest memories are just sitting, playing on the living room floor with him listening to the Metropolitan Opera broadcast  in the background. I was whistling tunes from opera before anything else."

Secord-Haid is excited about the possibility of moving to Toronto. "You can certainly learn to sing in Winnipeg. There are fabulous teachers and a great artistic community here," she stressed. "But at a certain point you do need to be heard and that means moving closer to places like Toronto and New York."

Hear Lara Secord-Haid on CBC's Up to Speed with host Ismaila Alfa on Tuesday November 26 at 5:45 p.m. She'll perform tonight in the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio in Toronto.