• November 19, 2019

OC performance majors stand out at regional competition - Odessa American: Odessa College

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OC performance majors stand out at regional competition

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Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 5:09 pm

Crystal Jaquez, Jonica Alaniz, Justin Lawhone, Josiah Garcia and Daniella Rodriguez were the contestants. Jennifer Voigt, associate professor of music, said this was the first time OC had participated.

“Our Texoma chapter, it’s not really a chapter it’s more like a region, is very active; one of the most active in the country and so they hold auditions every fall for the teachers’ students to come and within each category compete against one another other for rankings, basically,” Voigt said.

Preliminary rounds were Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and the semifinals and finals were Nov. 2.

They did “really well,” Voigt said.

“They all sing really beautifully. They had very complimentary comments from the judges and Justin actually made semifinals in his division. Two of the others were also very close in their scores,” she said.

Voigt said she listened to her students outside the door cheering them on. The regional competition featured 600 students, she added.

“And it’s from very big-name schools that are highly active, so it’s a very competitive competition. As far as I know we’re the only two-year school that takes students. They are competing against four-year schools, but they divide up by how many years of collegiate voice they’ve had so if they’ve been here longer than two years they’re still competing against people that have studied the same amount of time,” she added. “But mostly, it’s freshmen against freshmen; sophomores against sophomores; all the way up to graduate level.”

Voigt noted that this is different than high school competition.

“In high school, they would have solo and ensemble and they’d have one piece and it was against all high school students. But all the students they were competing against in this competition were music majors …,” she said.

Some students took three pieces and some had to take four. The judges could pick from those and some sang all of the pieces and others only sang a couple.

“A few of them had pieces they learned last year and then two new pieces and some of them took some lessons over the summer to get ready for it so that they would be on top of their repertoire ready to go,” Voigt said.

She added that she would like to take the students to the National Association of Teachers of Singing contest again.

“I think we’re competitive and I think the skill level is absolutely appropriate to the competition. I think people underestimate community college programs for good reason because there are a lot that are not strong. But our program is incredibly unique in that we have a very strong singer base, here especially so we’re going to change the culture of thinking there,” Voigt said.

For the students, the faculty was what largely drew them to OC.

“But also I wanted to start somewhere small and learn more of what I wanted to do with school and with my education and expand it to a university,” Garcia said.

Lawhone said college was a scary idea to him, but he made the decision to attend Odessa College because he knew he enjoyed music.

“And OC had a really great program. It was a really good decision,” Lawhone said.

Eric Baker, department chair of the visual and performing arts at OC, said he is proud of the No. 1 feeling he has about the contest outcome. That and excitement.

“It’s really great for Odessa College to be competing at a statewide and even a national level and have our students fare so well at that competition. It’s just validation in our program and it’s exciting to see them have these opportunities, to get the validation that what they’re doing is worthwhile,” Baker said.

He added that with the right level of hard work they can really succeed.

“So any chance we get to put our students front and center at Odessa College, we want to do that and it’s great to let them get out of just the West Texas area and be competitive in the big broader context. No doubt some eyebrows were raised, like what’s in the water?” Baker added.

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