Third annual Art Song Contest to feature SHSU students

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Sam Houston State University’s School of Music will host its third annual Art Song Contest on April 10 at 2:00 p.m. in the recital hall of the Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

The three-hour event is a music competition that encompasses vocal and collaborative piano arts.

The contest is open to selected SHSU music majors, both undergraduate and graduate, whose applied areas are voice or piano.

Students must be in the music program for at least one semester prior to the semester of the contest and must be currently enrolled in private study.

Music education senior Sarai Villatoro, the winner of last year’s competition, explained that she is slightly nervous about performing but overall feels settled and ready to do what she has to do.

“A lot of the time as musicians, we’re scared of what’s going to happen but being courageous and putting yourself out there, exposing yourself and having the adrenaline and seeing the reaction is amazing,” Villatoro said.

Villatoro is set to perform with her pianist, senior Daniel Contreras. Both have trained tirelessly for about a month and a half with their voice trainer.

“She’s tough on us but I love that about her” Villatoro said about their voice trainer. “She loves making sure we’re at our very best”.

The contest was created in 2014 by Dean Ronald E. Shields, Ph.D., in order to promote student singers and collaborative achievement through the performance of song literature, as well as to influence degree studies within the vocal and collaborative piano arts.

Emily S. Binetti, Fine Arts and Mass Communication Marketing Coordinator, said audiences can expect to hear all of the skill and time that the performers have put into preparation for this competition.

“Audiences will not only be impressed with the technical skill displayed, but also captivated by the artistry, collaborative commitment and diversity of the presentations” Binetti said.

Villatoro said the turn out from last year’s competition was large and encouraging.

“There was a large audience turn out,” Villatoro said. “A lot of my colleagues were there cheering me on and it was a great experience being up there and sharing this art form. It’s unreal, you transport yourself to a different world.”

The judges’ panel was personally selected by Shields and consists of Deborah Dalton, Director of Opera Theater at Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music and Timothy Hester, Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts at the University of Houston.

The first round of the contest is scheduled to end around 5:00 p.m., with the finalists announced at 7 p.m.

The final round, in the form of a formal evening concert, will begin at 7:30 p.m.

All rounds of the competition are free and open to the public to watch.

The first place winner will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Second place will be awarded a $750 scholarship and third place will be awarded a $500 scholarship.