by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
It must have been tempting to sleep in on that chilly Saturday morning. After weeks of rehearsals, the four student vocalists, all cast members in Dickinson’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, had taken their opening-night bow just hours before. Now, they were up with the sun, gearing up for a musical performance of a different ilk.
The vocalists were about to compete in the 2014 National Association for Teachers of Singing (NATS) Allegheny-region auditions, held Nov. 1 at Messiah College (Grantham, Pa.). Presenting selections in English and Italian, French and/or German before a panel of three judges, all of the students would perform well, and two would return to campus with high honors, the latest Dickinsonians to do so in recent years.
Sara Tillett ‘17’s sparkling interpretation of the famed “Jewel Song” aria from Faust helped secure her placement as a finalist in the NATS freshmen women’s college division. Tillett, a music major who qualified for that division based on her age and years of vocal study, was one of just three vocalists from across the Allegheny region invited to perform in the end-of-day winners’ concert.
Ann Fogler ‘15, also a music major, was one of 30 vocalists to compete in the NATS junior women’s college division, traditionally one of the event’s largest categories. Pitted against peers at Mansfield, Penn State and Susquehanna universities, among other regional institutions, she sang two works she’d learned this semester as well as a signature piece by Rossini and was named one of 11 semifinalists.
These accomplishments are in tune
with recent Dickinson showings at the annual Allegheny-region NATS auditions,
says Associate Professor of Music Lynn Helding,
who helped prepare the vocal students, along
with accompanist Eun Ae Baik-Kim, instructor
in piano. Last year’s regional finalist,
music major Frederick Schlick ’14, is pursuing an
advanced degree in vocal performance at Boston Conservatory, and 2011 NATS
Division Nine winner Juliana Burdick ’11 is pursuing a master’s degree at the Peabody
The 2015 honorees are thrilled to tap that trend, but they also assert that there’s more to the experience. “It was my best audition yet,and I learned a tremendous amount,” says Fogler.
“It was a great opportunity for us all to perform the pieces we have been working on, and to get helpful feedback,” Tillet adds.
Published November 19, 2014