School of Music shows talent 

April 11, 2011

PLAINVIEW – The Spring semester typically brings out the best from Wayland Baptist University’s School of Music, and this year is no different as students are exhibiting their talents on a regional level as well as among their fellow students.

On March 28 Wayland students competed for scholarship dollars in the annual Music Achievement Awards. The competition allows music students to compete in voice, instrumental and piano competitions within two categories. Winners are named in each category. This year, the MAA awards also named an overall winner, Corinna Browning, a senior from Channing.

Five days after the MAA competition, Browning was again showing her talents at the National Association of Teachers of Singing contest where she placed first in the upper-division women’s competition. Wayland’s Chris Kirby placed first in the upper-division men’s contest and Christal Patterson and Matthew Whitson placed second in their The NATS competition featured vocalists from Wayland as well as Lubbock Christian University, Texas Tech, West Texas A&M and Amarillo College. Contestants had to sing three pieces, an opera oratorio, a foreign language piece and an English art song, as selected by the judges.

“It was an interesting contest,” said Browning. “The judges chose the music so you weren’t able to prepare your own set of songs. I’ve competed in a lot of places, so that wasn’t new to me. But this was my first time to compete with anything operatic.”

Browning said she comes from a western swing background and singing opera is just unheard of in her hometown.

Kirby, however, found himself in a new setting at the NATS competition, having never competed in anything like it before.

“This was a big deal for me,” said Kirby, a sophomore from Plano who was competing in the upper-division classification, generally reserved for juniors and seniors.

“I went in there fully expecting not to win,” he said.

Not only did Wayland Students compete at NATS, but they also received personal instruction from Lisa Popeil, a celebrity voice coach from Los Angeles. Kirby and Browning both said it was great to get feedback from such a respected individual in voice training.

The MAA contest is essentially set up similar to the NATS, but contestants only perform one piece and it can be either voice, instrumental or piano. Students compete in two classifications. Class B is for students in semesters 1-4, and Class A is for students in semesters 5-8. Winners in each classification receive scholarships for the upcoming term. The contest is judged by the School of Music faculty.

It is always a real good competition,” Browning said. “I think it is an excellent display of the talent we hold as a department.”

First-place winners of the MAA awards were: Andrea Hamric, piano; Haley Hartman, voice; Kalie Young, clarinet; Melanie Hester, piano; Browning, voice; and TeAda Short, saxophone. Hester was also recognized as a five-time winner of the MAA contest.

Second-place winners were: Kirby, voice; Brian Spruill, voice; Damaris Rios, piano; Alexis Hall, voice; and Andy Roberts, clarinet.

The School of Music also recently handed out its Friends of Music scholarship award winners to: Morgan Metcalf, flute; Rios, piano; Morgan Switzenberg, voice; Gerardo Olivares, voice; Kayleen Cox, voice; Tiffany Mosier, voice; David Brosseau, piano; and Matthew Whitson, voice.