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Vocal Students Take Top Awards at Alabama NATS Student Auditions

Vocal students from the University of Mobile won top awards at the 2013 Alabama National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Student Auditions.

At the Student Auditions, singers perform and receive written feedback about their performances, as well as get to meet and hear other singers.

This year, the University of Mobile Center for Performing Arts/School of Music was well represented at the state competition and four students received awards in their categories during the Feb. 15-16 competition in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Mary Laura Boyett won first place in the Fourth Year College Women category, performing “Mi Chiamano Mimi” from La Boheme by Giaccamo Puccini. She plans on pursuing a career in opera, and says that winning competitions such as the Student Auditions is a great addition to a singer’s portfolio.

“When you audition for roles, they look at your experience in competitions as well as roles you’ve performed,” says Boyett. “So it’s just another great step forward in pursuing that as a career!” Boyett is a junior vocal performance major studying under Dr. Kathryn Hedlund, instructor of voice.

Another of Hedlund’s students, Hillary Vest, won first place in the Second Year College Women category. Vest, a sophomore vocal performance major, says she enjoyed getting to meet other students from different schools, as well as getting to know her fellow UMobile students better.

Vest says, “It was an encouraging experience musically, and the judges gave helpful critique that will be valuable when continuing to pursue a degree in voice.”

For the competition, Vest performed “Batti, batti, o bel Masetto” from Don Giovanni by W.A. Mozart.

Shadoe Valentin, a senior vocal performance major, won first place in the Advanced College Musical Theater Men category. Valentin performed “I am Adolpho” from the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, written and composed by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.

“It’s always interesting to see students from other universities and their teachers,” he says. “It’s great to see the different techniques that are being taught to other students.” Valentin studies in the studio of Dr. Patrick Jacobs, associate professor of music and chair of Vocal Studies and Opera.

Bethany Polinkas, a senior musical theater major studying under Darla Earnest, adjunct instructor of voice, won second place in the Fourth Year College Musical Theater Women category.

“It was nice because it helps us see more of who we’re going to be competing against for jobs when we graduate,” says Polinkas. “It also brings our school together and helps us support each other.” For the primary auditions, Polinkas chose to sing “I Will Prevail” from the Frank Wildhorn musical, Wonderland.

Placing in a category at the Student Auditions is not only an accomplishment for the students, but also is an accomplishment for the school they represent, say UMobile professors. Students winning at the competition are a direct reflection of their hard work and dedication, as well as the skill and passion invested in each student by their professor.

Jacobs spoke highly of all of the students representing UMobile.

“I’m very proud of not only the way our students sang, but how they interacted with each other and the singers from other schools. They were kind, professional, and supportive. Our university was very well represented by these fine young men and women,” Jacobs says.
By Ashley Holmes, media relations intern

From left: Shadoe Valentin, Hillary Vest, Mary Laura Boyett, Bethany Polinkas
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