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ODU Vocal Music Students Bring Home Awards

Twenty-five students from Old Dominion University's music program participated in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Virginia District Spring Conference last weekend in Winchester, bringing home 11 awards.

NATS is the premier organization for both private and university singing teachers in the United States. More than 425 vocalists and nearly 70 teachers attended the event, held at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music March 6-7. The competition is divided into 31 categories, which begin at the high school level and advance through the Continuing Education Category, which has no age limit.

"We are thrilled on so many levels, not only with the number of awards our students received, but with the level of participation from our students on the whole," said Kerry Jennings, assistant professor and coordinator of ODU's voice program.

ODU's award winners include:

  • Advanced College Men: 1st Place: Orson Van Gay II, senior.
  • Advanced College Women: 1st Place Tie: Ann Scott Davis and April Lessard, both seniors; 3rd Place: Erin Hannon, senior; Honors: Jennifer Searfino, graduate student.
  • College Sophomore Men: Honors: Christopher Burnette and Meredith Brookman.
  • College Freshmen Men Music Theatre: 1st Place: Wesley Evans.
  • College Freshmen Men Classical: 3rd Place: Wesley Evans.

During a recital of all the award winners, held on Saturday, March 7, two ODU students won "best overall" awards:

  • Best College Male Musical Theater Singer: Wesley Evans.
  • Best Overall Singer: Orson Van Gay II.

"The fact that ODU came away with 11 awards is a testament to the growth, not only in numbers but in quality, of the students within the voice area and also to the high caliber of teaching they are receiving," Jennings said.

Bobbie Kesler-Corleto and adjunct professor Jason Peterson accompanied the students on piano during the competition. ODU students also had the opportunity to attend workshops and master classes in many different areas, such as Alexander Technique, Auditioning in Europe, Musical Theater Techniques and Music Technology.

All eight of ODU's award winners will compete in the Mid-Atlantic Regional NATS Conference in Boone, N.C., April 3-4. Many of these students will also perform in the music department's spring opera theater productions:

  • April 26, 3 p.m. "Letter to Warsaw" by Thomas Pasatieri and directed by Charles Stanton. Chandler Recital Hall.
  • April 30 and May 2, 7:30 p.m. "Cosi fan tuti" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and directed by Charles Stanton. Chandler Recital Hall.

Tickets for both shows are $5 for students and $10 for general admission. Call 683-5305 for tickets, or the music department at 683-4061 for more information.

This article was posted on: March 12, 2009

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