Most everyone at Lake Highlands High School knows Lyndsey Jones, Kelly Nelms and Cami Welch as “the trio.” The sophomore girls have been singing since they could talk and started singing together as freshmen. Plus, they’re best friends.

So when they learned from their voice teacher that they would be performing as the Three Spirits in The Dallas Opera’s upcoming presentation of The Magic Flute, they couldn’t stop screaming and jumping up and down.

“Going to musicals, I’ve always dreamed, ‘Oh, I want to be up there,’ and now I finally get to,” Nelms says.

It’s not that this is their first time on stage. They’ve clinched the title of outstanding ensemble performance at Richardson ISD’s vocal music festival for two years running. They were the only sophomores to make the cut for their school’s talent show. Nelms and Jones have performed in church musicals, and The Magic Flute will be Welch’s sixth engagement with The Dallas Opera. But all of her previous performances were with the children’s chorus.

“They barely ever give kids principal parts in the opera,” Welch says. “But it sounds a lot better for our parts to have younger voices. It’s supposed to be spirits who never grow old.”

The girls watched a performance of the opera on video and learned their job would be mainly to “save the people from killing themselves.” And they laughed when they saw the Three Spirits being played by young boys in powdered wigs.

“When I first heard ‘spirits,’ I thought we would be fairies or something, but it’ll still be fun,” Nelms says.

“I think we get to come in from the ceiling,” Jones adds.

Their roles require them to sing four movements, including one that is 15 pages long, and since Mozart composed the opera, the entire work is sung in German.

“That’s the hardest part, I think,” Nelms says.

But not too daunting for 16-year-olds who have already tackled Italian, French, Spanish and even Czech during their performances. Not to mention that they will be paid handsomely for their efforts — $600 a show.

“When we found out how much we were getting paid, we were even more excited,” Welch says.

But being in the opera is not all glitz and glamour. Rehearsals last from 7:30 to 11:30 most nights, and the girls are struggling to juggle their homework, dance classes, church choirs and social lives with practice.

“I’m really busy already, and this is huge,” Nelms says.

Plus, their contracts required them to forgo participating in the high school musical, which is a major production at Lake Highlands. And Jones, the pianist of the group, had to give up her ambitions to play for Espree, the high school’s pop music ensemble.

But The Magic Flute is worth the sacrifice, they agree.

“It’s amazing to think how much people paid for the tickets,” Welch says. “They really care.”

“People from all over Dallas are going to come and watch this,” adds Jones.

And most importantly, says Nelms: “It’s such an incredible experience to do something professional with your best friends.”