Voice Students Triumph at State Competition

Department of Music Voice Students
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Department of Music Voice Students

This spring, vocal students in the U of A's Department of Music have much to be proud of. Sixteen students traveled to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia to sing in the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition.

Singers are categorized by level of study, and this year, students had the historic opportunity to participate in the commercial music category in addition to the classical and musical theatre categories. This is the first year that the Arkansas chapter has offered contemporary music categories, including pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, folk, jazz and many others.

The U of A saw a wonderful rise in interest this year due to the excitement surrounding these additional genres. Additionally, it was moving to see so many traditional classical vocalists delve into the world of commercial music as they prepared. For each category, first- and second-year students prepare three contrasting pieces in each category, and upperclassmen prepare four to five pieces depending on their year and category.

The nine U of A vocalists earned 12 placements in the finals at this year's competition. This year's winners are as follows:

Kalista Brown - 1st Place - Classical 5B Category
Kalista Brown - 1st Place - Commercial Music 5/6 Category
Markell Cox - 1st Place - Musical Theatre 8 Category
Ashley Trotter - 1st Place - Classical 13 Category
Ashley Trotter - 2nd Place - Musical Theatre 11 Category
Toni Hardin - 2nd Place - Musical Theatre 6 Category
Dominique Butcher - 2nd Place - Classical 10 Category
Garrett Cash - 2nd Place - Classical 6B Category
Garrett Cash - 3rd Place - Commercial Music 5/6 Category
Avery Hamlin - 3rd Place - Classical 5A Category
Kevin Willis - 3rd Place - Classical 6B Category
Sam Messick - 3rd Place - Classical 6A Category

In addition to competing at NATS in various genres, the U of A's Department of Music is proud to offer diverse singing subjects for vocal students. The department's very first Bachelor of Music vocal performance major with an emphasis in jazz studies will graduate this May. Zoie Benton is a student of Lauren N. Clare and has just completed a stellar senior recital. Benton has paved interest for other vocalists in our department, and Emma Davis, a jazz studies student of Lenora Green-Turner, has just completed her junior honors recital and will graduate in May of 2025. Davis will be the department's second B.M. graduate in vocal performance major with an emphasis in jazz studies.

Faculty are also incredibly inspired by the number of B.A. majors interested in commercial music and music industry studies. The Department of Music has a host of new freshman seeking paths that are new to the historical vocal tradition at the college level. We are ecstatic to see this growth and inclusivity in our field!

On the horizon, the department's newest vocal ensemble, VOICES Vocal Jazz Ensemble, led by Lauren N. Clare, has been named a finalist at this year's VoiceJam Competition held by the Walton Arts Center on Saturday, April 13. This ensemble features a diverse group of majors and includes both undergraduate and graduate students. Tickets to this year's VoiceJam Competition are available and can be purchased online.

Auditions are held each semester during the jazz area auditions. For more information about VOICES, contact Clare at lclare@uark.edu.

We hope to see you at many of our upcoming voice area recitals and choral performances! Learn more about the voice area of music.


Lauren Clare, instructor, voice
Department of Music
479-575-4701, lclare@uark.edu


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