LU singers compete at state auditions
Note: Tayler Otten, a senior majoring in English and creative writing, is creating content for the Lakeland blog, as well as the social media pages for Lakeland’s School of Humanities & Fine Arts. This is the latest in a series of blog stories she’s written.
Four Lakeland students and their music instructor competed in the recent Wisconsin chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singers Auditions at Viterbo University in La Crosse.
Through the helpful coaching of Emily Alvarez, a Lakeland adjunct instructor of music, senior Evan Vorpahl for the fourth straight year placed second in the Upper College Musical Theater TBB division.
Sophomore Bryndyn Schroeder advanced to the semi-finals in the Lower College Musical Theater TBB division, and sophomore Lola D'Acquisto and freshman Clara Steinert sang in the Lower College Musical Theater Treble division.
Each student prepared three or four pieces for the audition, showcasing their talent within the guidelines of their category. The purpose of the Wisconsin Association of Teachers of Singers (NATS) Auditions is to provide high school students, college students and young professional singers a chance to compete with singers of a similar skill level. The experience not only shapes the students’ ability to perform, but also provides them with the opportunity to receive feedback from both voice teachers and guest clinicians.
“This is the fourth time I have participated in the NATS Fall Auditions as a Lakeland University representative,” Vorpahl shared. “While NATS is a competition with monetary awards for first, second and third in each category, the main goal of participating in these kinds of auditions is to get feedback from the judges to improve your skills as a performer.
“After the initial audition, I received written feedback from three judges. When I qualified for the semi-final round, I was able to use this feedback to improve my next performance. I then received feedback again and was able to use that information to improve my performance in the finals.”
The process is long and arduous. Students must perform for auditions, semi-finals and finals if given the opportunity. Such extensive performance requires equally extensive preparation, practicing inside and outside of class and choosing pieces that both complement each other and showcase the student’s abilities.
“Outside of lessons, they got together once a week and sang their pieces for each other, which not only made them better singers, but also brought them together as friends,” Alvarez shared about her students.
The NATS auditions not only help the students to become better singers and make connections, but they also help them work toward their career goals. Some look toward the stars as a professional artist, while some look toward helping the next generation achieve their dreams.
“My end goal is to be a music teacher,” Steinert said. “Participating in events like this will help me in the future with my own students.”
Teaching comes with its own rewards, including watching as your students use the skills you have taught them to excel in their division of choice. Alvarez rightfully felt this pride toward her students in November as she watched each student find a different kind of success. Whether they placed, leveled-up or simply auditioned, each student created their own success story. The pride flowed both ways, as each of Alvarez’s students accredited her in their success.
“I would give credit to my voice teacher Emily Alvarez,” D'Acquisto said. “Without her, I wouldn't be where I am today, nor would I have made the growth I did. My voice now compared to a year ago is completely different.”
Although this fall was the first time Lakeland had a group of students to represent them at the WI NATS auditions, it won’t be the last. Each participant remained grateful for the experience and opportunity to represent their school.
“It felt awesome to represent Lakeland's small but thriving music community at a state-wide music competition,” Schroeder said. “There is a lot of musical talent here at Lakeland, and Wisconsin NATS was a great opportunity to showcase that talent with my friends and my school of choice.”