March 30, 2009
Last month, eight finalists competed for awards, scholarships, and special distinctions, including Most Artistic and Most Improved. They all sang their hearts out but only Laura Begley was named Singer of the Year.
Begley, a junior music major, started singing at the age of seven. Her parents had initially enrolled her in a dance class but found that she sang along to the songs more than she danced to them. She was put in singing classes, which led to private voice lessons in high school, and singing on stage in college.
(Photo: Begley with other contestants, from left to right, Stacy Wilcox, Laura Begley, Cody Laun, and Kathryn Costanza.)
CSU's School of the Arts created the Singer of the Year competition to give students the chance to take their performance to the next level.
According to Begley, “Any vocal music major can be in the semi-finals round of the competition as long as it is approved by his or her teacher. On the first night of competition every person sings one song and then the judges picked eight people to move on to the finals round.”
As the competition approached, Begley’s schedule was filled with singing practice with her professors, her peers, and by herself.
“One of the arias I sang for finals is from the opera La Cenerentola (Cinderella) so I had been working on it a lot in rehearsals. Plus, I worked on my two pieces with my professor, Michael Queen, in lessons and also with the vocal coach we have at CSU as well as lots of hours on my own. One of the best preparations was singing in my studio class in front of my peers and getting feedback on the actual performance of each piece,” says Begley.
For the competition, Begley sang "Must the Winter Come So Soon" from Vanessa by Samuel Barber and "Non più mesta" from La Cenerentola by Gioachino Rossini.
Begley came in third during last year’s singing competition and she made it her goal to come in first this year.
“I was so ecstatic! To have a goal in mind for a year and actually have it come true is amazing. I worked really hard to get where I am now and it is such an honor to be awarded with something so great,” say Begley.
Throughout the competition, there were moments that stuck out in Begley’s mind, including funny comments made by Charles Taylor, a professional opera singer who led the master class, a course where students can interact with legendary guest performers who exemplify musical achievement. Her most memorable moment might not be too difficult to guess.
“My most memorable moment? That’s hard to say. Getting to hear advice from Charles Taylor was really uplifting and helpful. Overall though, I'm not sure that could beat the moment my name was called when they announced the Singer of the Year award,” say Begley.
Contact: Anh Ha
Phone: (970) 491-4161