Voice students from the West Virginia University School of Music recently competed with fellow vocalists from the West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio region in the Tri-State National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, held at the Creative Arts Center.

More than 100 vocalists from the tri-state region competed in high school, university and adult-level categories. Vocal teachers accompanied their students and participated by judging areas of competition in which they had no students.

WVU students excelled in the competition, entering 13 of 18 categories and winning or placing in each category represented. The WVU students placed first in 11 categories, second in seven categories and third in two categories.

“We are very proud of our students,” said Hope Koehler, associate professor of voice at WVU. “More than just presenting themselves as accomplished and gifted singers, our students were polite, hospitable and generous. They represented WVU wonderfully.”

WVU first place winners by category included:

Freshmen Men: Robert Rowley of Sturgis, Ky.; Freshmen Women: Janine Ernsting of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.; Sophomore Men: Steven Michael Patrick of Morgantown; Sophomore Women: Devan Balaguer of Gilbertsville, Pa.; Junior Men: John Scherch of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Senior Men: Aaron Scarberry of Boyertown, Pa.; Senior Women: Samantha DeStefano of Greensburg, Pa.; Lower Division Musical Theater Women: Katy Shepas of Waynesburg, Pa.; Upper Division Musical Theater Women: Leigh Usilton of Salisbury, Md.; and Advanced-Level Women: Sharon Lankford of Maryville, Tenn.

WVU second place winners by category were: Sophomore Men: Dallas Wright of Las Vegas, Nev.; Sophomore Women: Kaitlyn Grosso of Latrobe, Pa.; Junior Women: Nicoletta Ciampa of Monroeville, Pa.; Junior Men: Alex Anderson of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Lower-Division Musical Theater Women: Nicole Sangid of Charleston, W.Va.; Advanced-Level Men: Winston Sullivan of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Advanced-Level Women: TingTing Chang of Tangshan, China.

WVU Third place winners by category were: Freshmen Women: Katy Shepas of Waynesburg, Pa.; and Advanced-Level Women: Maya Pardo, of Watertown, Mass.

Another notable result of the weekend was that Nick Perna, assistant professor of voice in the WVU School of Music and an organizer of the event, along with Mandy Spivak, lecturer in voice at WVU, were elected as president and secretary/treasurer, respectively, of the Tri-State Chapter of the association.

“A major highlight of the event was hearing and seeing the incredible progress and terrific singing of our students,” Perna.

For more information on future Tri-State association events or how to become involved, contact Nick Perna at Nick.Perna@mail.wvu.edu.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4359, Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu

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