Earlier this November, four music students traveled to Indiana Wesleyan University to compete in a statewide vocal competition. After a day of singing, they did not come back empty-handed.Senior music majors Stephanie Hollenberg and Andrea Detweiler both received awards in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition on Nov. 5. GC professors Deb Brubaker and Scott Hostetler are part of the organization and accompanied Hollenberg, Detweiler, Adrienne Yoder and Colin Gregory, along with professor Christine Seitz, to the competition.“The organization sponsors a statewide competition every fall for students of teachers in the organization,” Brubaker said. “Students are from high school age through late 20s and are grouped by age level and year in college, so each student competes with other singers his or her own age.”To compete, each student had to perform three pieces from a specific set of criteria: an aria, a foreign language piece and an art song. They sang for a panel of three judges, who then ranked students in their specific categories and determined the top three singers in each category.
“Because the competition happens so close to the beginning of the school year it's a push to learn music so quickly and have it comfortably in your voice,” Hollenburg said. “But it's also a great challenge and motivation to practice regularly and learn new repertoire.”
The judges also provided comments, since the contest maintains an emphasis on supportive teaching and learning. Winners were chosen based on quality of tone, difficulty of repertoire, ability handling languages, healthiness of vocal technique, stage presence and dramatic presentation.
“The judges give written feedback, which is one of the most valuable things we take away from the competition,” Detweiler said. “We also value the performance experience and hearing the repertoire and technique of other competing vocalists.”
Said Brubaker: “All four of our students sang very well that day. They were also able to get an idea of the quality and caliber of voices across the state.”
Detweiler won first place in her category and sang an aria at the winners' recital at the end of the day. The recital was an opportunity to listen to many talented singers and reminded Detweiler of the variety of voices around the country.