Young vocalists vie in classical competition

October 14, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. ? Singers from local high schools gathered Saturday morning at Shepherd University for a classical music vocal competition.

Zack Nelson, 17, a senior at Clear Spring High School, sang two pieces he had been preparing since June for the judges ? Vergin Tutt'amor ? in Italian ? and a German piece.

Zack was awaiting the results of the competition and comments from the judges Saturday afternoon. He started singing along with songs on the radio when he was about 6, and began vocal lessons more than a year ago, he said.

After graduation, Zack wants to attend Westminster Choir College of Rider University in New Jersey, and perhaps one day earn his doctorate and teach music theory, he said.


The vocal competition, sponsored by the Shepherd University Department of Music, was started in 1991 and has grown since, said Barbara Buck Stenger, a university voice instructor.

The university started a classical vocal competition because while there were many opportunities for students to sing popular music, those who trained for classical music had fewer opportunities to perform and compete, Stenger said.

"We wanted to tell them they were valued," she said.

Thirty-nine students from Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia participated in Saturday's competition, Stenger said.

The top male and female singer won $300 apiece.

Olivia Lloyd, 16, of Shepherdstown, started singing classical music about a year ago, and one day would like to be on Broadway, she said. Saturday's competition was her first, and she was eager for the judges' critiques, said Olivia, who is in the 11th grade at Jefferson High School.

Megan West, 17, of Martinsburg, W.Va., participated in the vocal competition last year. She had fun and learned a lot so she wanted to return this year, she said.

After graduation, Megan wants to attend Shepherd University to study music education and theater so she can teach children how to sing, she said.

Megan won third place in the female vocal category Saturday, earning a $100 award, Stenger said.

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