By Mirabella Miller ’24
Scripps’ Department of Music hosted this year’s Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) collegiate-level student LA Regional Auditions, a competitive student vocal tournament where performers receive valuable critiques from the association’s teachers. Four Scripps applied voice students participated, and all were awarded top honors in their respective categories: Jeannette Hunker ’23, Aviva Miller ’24, and Isha Singh ’23 earned first prize, and Cece Malone ’24 garnered second. Each winner also took home a cash prize in addition to a certificate commemorating their achievements.
Audition categories ranged from classical to musical theatre. Singh, along with two other Scripps students, performed musical theatre pieces. She credits Visiting Lecturer of Music Michaela Kelly with inspiring her to try out.
“She encouraged me to audition for the musical theatre category, a relatively new category for this competition,” says Singh. “I was told to prepare two ‘golden age’ pieces and two contemporary pieces. It was a fun challenge to venture into the different styles within musical theatre.”
Each participant prepared a repertoire of four songs. Performers selected their first piece while the judges chose two songs, meaning participants had to be prepared to perform all four pieces. While the competition was fast-paced and required skill, practice, and focus, Singh found it to be an extremely rewarding experience.
“Everyone, including the other competitors and judges, were all so kind and welcoming,” she says. “I truly felt so supported and surrounded by passionate musicians the whole day, and it was incredible to hear everyone else perform in the finals as they were all so talented.”
Singh’s interest in the musical theatre category reflects growing student interest in musical theatre vocal performance. To accommodate and nurture this growing interest, the Scripps music department recently began offering a course focused on voice for musical theatre and a path through the music major in voice performance concentration based on musical theatre.
“The music faculty’s decision to offer this course is the result of high student interest and a growing trend in undergraduate musical education to offer courses in both classical and musical theatre vocal repertoire,” says Associate Professor of Music Anne Harley.
The course Voice for Musical Theatre was offered for the first time last fall and response to the new offering has been overwhelmingly positive. “Applied voice training in musical theatre also helps to diversify the offerings of the music department because it generally attracts students who haven’t had extensive training in classical vocal music. We welcome many students auditioning for this course who are coming to the music department for the first time,” says Harley.
For Singh, who has taken voice lessons in both classical and musical theatre styles at Scripps, experience with different music has powerfully enhanced her education.
“Having the exposure to different styles of music, such as classical and also musical theatre, has increased my performance skills and techniques so much,” she says.