Missouri Western Opera Singers Gain National Attention

Published 01/30 2012 06:39PM

Updated 02/02 2012 03:58PM

Some Missouri Western opera singers are turning heads across the country.
Students recently took second place at the National Opera Association's Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition.

This comes after faculty just started an opera program at the university in 2009.

"We've just started building an opera area. As you've noticed, we have a strong music theatre now. In 2009, when I came along, I said, 'Hey, where's the music theatre?'" says MWSU Vocal Studies Director, Dr. Susan Carter.

As part of an opera workshop at Missouri Western, Sophomore Adrienne Collins, and Senior Kyle Minx put together a 25 minute scene from Gian-Carlo Menotti's "The Telephone."

"It's about a girl who can't get off of her phone, and her boyfriend Ben is trying to propose to her but she is on the phone all the time. Eventually, he has to call her up over the phone to propose" says Collins.

Dr. Carter sent a video entry of the performance to the National Opera Association just to see what could happen.

"I think the walls are still ringing in the music office from when I looked at my email, because quite frankly, I forgot about it. I dropped it in the mail, and it went out of my thoughts," Carter says.

Out of 50 entries nationwide, their's was one of five finalists in the competition's first division.

When planning for the competition in Memphis, TN, Dr. Carter soon learned the accompanist couldn't make it.

She quickly found another.

Freshman Donovan Jones began rehearsing two weeks before the date of the competition, and he'd never accompanied opera before.

"It was kind of nerve-wrecking because I was worried the whole time I was going to get up there and screw them up, and make them lose the competition or something, but it went well when they got up on stage," Jones says.

When the the competition came in January, the Western students brought a performance that got the crowd's attention.

They won second place.

"It was very exciting. In fact, I mean, there was just so much energy after that performance. You know, it's like what do you do with yourself? It was just so wonderful."

Students are proud to show such enormous success coming from Missouri Western.

"I definitely know as a school, this is a great thing, because we have a great music program here, but I don't think it's widely known," Minx says.

After starting the opera program in 2009, Dr. Carter says winning second nationally is just the boost the program needs to continue growing.

Click here for more information on the National Opera Association.

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