Education

Ouachita voice students place in district competition

By Julia Shands 
OBU News Bureau

ARKADELPHIA — Four Ouachita Baptist University voice students earned honors at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Arkansas District Conference, held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25-26, at Harding University in Searcy.  

Ouachita students who earned honors at NATS Arkansas District Conference are (from left) Bella Owen, third place in upper college musical theatre, treble division; Kieran Malmer, second place in classical first year, treble division; and AnnaMarie Cobb, semifinalist in lower college musical theatre. Not pictured: Erin Bagley, semifinalist in upper college musical theatre, treble division. Photo by Abby Blankenship

AnnaMarie Cobb, a freshman choral music education major from Arkadelphia, was a semifinalist in lower college musical theatre, treble division; Bella Owen, a junior musical theatre major from Jonesboro, earned third place in upper college musical theatre, treble division; Erin Bagley, a junior musical theatre major from White Oak, Texas, was a semifinalist in upper college musical theatre, treble division; and Kieran Malmer, a freshman choral music education major from Little Elm, Texas, won second place in classical first year, treble division.  

“I’m very proud of all the Ouachita students who participated in the auditions,” said Dr. Margaret Garrett, professor of music at Ouachita. “They are great examples of the results of persistent work and dedication to honing one’s craft. Their artistry and their attitudes represented Ouachita well.” 

Students who participated in the competition were required to submit audition videos to the panel of Arkansas voice teachers serving as judges, because preliminary portions of the conference were held virtually due to COVID-19.  

“The first- and second-year students had to submit three videos each, and the third- and fourth-year students were required to submit four videos each,” Garrett said. “Students with an average score of 90 or above were selected to participate in the in-person semi-final and final rounds at Harding.” 

According to its Arkansas chapter bylaws, NATS seeks to encourage voice students by challenging them in their field and improving their craft.  

Cobb advanced to the semifinals in the musical theatre division by singing “Pretty Funny” from Dogfight by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.  

“The competition was a fun experience, and I will definitely be going again,” said Cobb. “I learned a lot about singing, and that you shouldn’t doubt yourself.” 

In the finals, Owen earned third place with her performance of “Cute Boys with Short Haircuts” from Vanities by David Kirshenbaum. Bagley advanced to the semifinals in musical theatre, treble division with her performance of “When He Sees Me” from Waitress by Sara Bareilles, and Malmer earned second place in classical first year, treble division with her performance of “Poor Wand’ring One!” from The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan. 

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