Music Students Excel in Vocal Performances

Posted: April 13, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Virginia State Voice Competition was hosted by George Mason University in March. Mason students studying under music professors Patricia Miller, Debby Wenner, Kathryn Hearden, and Carla Rae Cook won first place in 8 categories and honors in 10 categories—more than any other school in the state.

Mason graduate student Rafaelito Ross won Best Male Vocalist and Best Overall Vocalist for the competition. He, along with the other winners of the competition, will be featured in the spring opera production, L’Ormindo by Cavalli, which will be performed May 3-6 in Harris Theatre.

Another student featured in the opera production will be Jennifer Waters, who won honors in the Continuing Education category of the competition. Waters was also the first Mason student to make the finals of the regional Metropolitan Opera auditions earlier this year at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

The NATS competition had more than 400 registered vocal student participants and 60 voice faculty from universities all over the state of Virginia. It was the largest conference in the history of the organization.

Phyllis Curtin, dean emeritus of Boston University School for the Arts and director of the Tanglewood Summer Opera, was the guest artist clinician and taught a master class in the Concert Hall for all participants. “The young singers with whom I worked were simply splendid,” Curtin said. “They were well-trained, with a fine grasp of the art as well as the craft. I enjoyed every minute and wish I had had more time with that group.”

All the winning students represented Virginia at the regional level of the competition, which was held the first weekend of April at the University of South Carolina.

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