SMC singers participate in state competition at Butler University
Katelyn Waldschmidt | Tuesday, November 7, 2023
This last Saturday, six Saint Mary’s students traveled to Butler University to compete in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition.
Participants included Julia Zusi, Delaney Nold, Rachel McMillen, Camryn Hurley, Georgia Sigler who placed first in her treble voice fourth and fifth-year category and Maeve Kearney, who placed third in her category of treble voice fourth and fifth-year musical theatre category. Elizabeth Schleicher, a voice instructor at Saint Mary’s, oversaw the competition for Saint Mary’s.
Zusi, a senior music education major, competed in two categories: classical music and musical theatre.
“I’ve done this competition for three years. This is the first year I’ve done two categories, but I just wanted to push myself after doing classical every year, so I just thought I’d push myself,” Zusi said.
Zusi explained the music a competitor plays depends on how long you have been studying music at the collegiate level.
“For us, you have to have at least two languages and one has to be an aria,” she said. “So I chose a German piece I sang last year and then I was working on an aria early this semester that I really wanted to put in front of an audience.”
Sigler, a senior vocal performance and communication studies major, competed in classical music, singing in English, French and Italian in her performance.
For Sigler, this competition is a chance to be competitive and see where she measures up against other performers as she prepares for graduate school.
“I’m applying and auditioning for voice and opera performance programs across the country for grad school. And then from there, I’ll hopefully have a job performing. I would really love to sing opera professionally,” Sigler said. “Or I’d love to teach at the collegiate level.”
Sigler said the competition helps her prepare for her future in performance by pushing her to improve every year.
Zusi, however, said she does not go for the competition, but rather to further her education and gain different perspectives.
“It’s very much feedback based, so they write very extensive comments, and they grade you on a scale,” she said. “For something like voice, the different perspectives are, to me, so valuable. Yes, it is good to have one voice teacher that you work with constantly, but also being able to have something maybe my teacher missed or a lot of time they’ll explain something a different way.”
Schleicher echoed Zusi’s comments.
“It is so helpful to have extra performance opportunities because that gives you the experience of nervousness that we can’t create in the studio,” she said. “For them to be able to have that opportunity to put their voices out there with that added helpful pressure really helps them develop how they use their voice and performance.”
Sigler reflected on how this competition mimics her childhood solo and ensemble competitions, and how she continues to grow through her competitive spirit.
“Even if you aren’t ranked the highest, you can learn who sits higher than you than ok what is this person doing that I’m not, what can I do to be at their level and then get above their level,” she said.
Zusi and Sigler both encourage any students who are interested to participate.
“It’s a really controlled environment where you can have performance experience and also learn more about how you do under pressure and what other people think,” Zusi said. “It’s really helpful growth tool because it forces you to prepare for something early in the semester, so you have that repertoire done and get it solid really fast.”