On Oct. 29, five Goshen College vocalists had the opportunity to compete in the annual competition sponsored by the Indiana chapter of the National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS). The event, which took place at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), featured students from Ball State, Anderson University, Taylor University and IPFW.
Representatives of GC included Lukas Thompson and Ben Meyer Reimer, sophomores, Jacob Zehr, a junior, and Galed Krisjayanta and Aaron Graber, seniors. Four of the five received awards for their performances.
Scott Hochstetler, professor of music and teacher for all of these vocalists, expressed satisfaction with the performances of all the students and noted that it is an accomplishment simply to take part in one of these competitions.
While Hochstetler was also judging other categories at the event, he said, “For the ones I was able to hear, I felt they all sang beautifully and with strong artistic conviction.”
Thompson placed first among male vocalists of his age group and explained that he felt comfortable with this kind of performance. Having participated in NATS before, this competition fit into his larger work and goals as a musician.
“As a performance-focus [music] major, any chance to get out there and sing is a great opportunity,” he said. “I love preparing songs for things, be it a recital or competition.”
Also competing in the second-year division was Reimer, who placed third. While he went into the day unsure of what to expect, Reimer decided he could trust what he’d worked on with his vocal teacher. Like Thompson, he noted the importance of seizing opportunities to perform.
“I think it’s more beneficial to me as a learning experience,” Reimer said. “I think my placement at NATS will be a helpful resumé note later as I move into a career, but the comments from the judges to help me improve were much more valuable.”
Zehr placed second in his age division, but he admitted that he didn’t go into NATS thinking of it as a competition. It created more stress to think about how his singing compared to that of others.
“Some people don’t like going to competitions when they anticipate the pain associated with failing,” he said. “For myself, it took me until this opportunity to realize how much I enjoy singing with my body and heart working together. It gives me freedom in a very new way, and it’s exhilarating.”
Krisjayanta and Graber competed in what Hochstetler defined as a very difficult category. Krisjayanta placed second in this division and described it as a good experience.
“I’m not looking for competition, and I’m very happy with the results!” he said.
Krisjayanta also mentioned how he, Zehr and Graber almost didn’t make it to the competition. They drove to the wrong university campus and, redirecting themselves, made it to IPFW 10 minutes before their performance times.
“[We] had to do warm-ups in the car,” he said. “After all, we bonded and had a great time!”
At the end of the day, all the vocalists went home with not just something else to put on their resumés, but a good building block for careers in music and performance.