Award-winning LU singer loves sharing his gift
Lakeland University junior Evan Vorpahl’s dream is to sing professionally and to nurture others’ passion for music through teaching.
Vorpahl is majoring in vocal performance and elementary education at Lakeland, and he recently delivered another award-winning performance at a state competition.
He won second place in the Upper College Musical Theater-Tenor, Baritone, Bass category, at the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing auditions in Stevens Point, Wis. He also sang in the third year Classical-TBB category.
It is the third year Vorpahl has placed in this competition, and the first time singing in person (the competition was virtual the last two years). In 2020 and 2021 he won second place in the Lower College Musical Theater-TBB categories as the first Lakeland student to compete in the Wisconsin NATS auditions.
The challenging competition required Vorpahl, a baritone, to prepare four songs for each category, including a mix of styles and languages.
It is the latest in a growing portfolio of accomplishments for the Sheboygan North High School graduate. He is scheduled to perform locally this January playing the Beast in the Theatre for Young Audience’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” which will be his 12th musical.
He started singing in fifth grade with the Sheboygan County-based Lakeshore Youth Chorale which led to performances in musicals throughout middle and high school.
“Getting paid to do music is my dream,” said Vorpahl, who attends Lakeland as a Sheboygan County Scholar. “It allows me to bring out my creative side. Being a musician allows you to not be yourself and act like the character you’re playing. You can bring out a different side with each character you play and each song you sing.
“I enjoy being challenged by different genres, and the older and more I experienced I get, it’s nice to do harder things.”
As a Sheboygan native, Lakeland was always on his radar. In addition to singing, he plays on Lakeland’s men’s tennis team to go with the numerous opportunities to perform both at Lakeland and in the community. He values learning from Emily Alvarez, a member of Lakeland’s music faculty.
“I knew she would be a nice personality to support me,” Vorpahl said. “Having vocal lessons with Emily has changed me as a singer by making me think a lot more as an adult singer and look toward my future.”
Along with the music instruction, Vorpahl enjoys the classes as part of Lakeland’s education degree, and he notes the different skill sets he’s learning as he prepares to be a classroom teacher.
“Right now, I’m taking psychology which is not at all like my art techniques class,” he said. “It’s all helping me to be the best teacher I can be.”
And while a professional singing career is the plan for when he graduates in the spring of 2025, Vorpahl looks forward to teaching children to love music as much as he does.
“I’ve always seen myself in a teacher role,” he said. “I think my personality is good because I see myself be really patient. If someone is having a hard time, I can be the help they need which is important.
“To be able to help kids grow and see the change when someone comes into your classroom 10 years later and see what you helped create them into, that’s pretty cool.”