Ouachita Baptist University student Jacob Watson, a senior musical theatre major from Wynne, Ark., was declared the winner of the fourth annual Trinity Presents Collegiate Performance Showcase held recently at Trinity United Methodist Church in Little Rock.
“I truly feel blessed to have won this competition this year, I did not expect to win at all,” Watson said. “My main goal was just to go on stage and perform my songs to the best of my abilities and have a blast while doing so.” He is a student of Dr. Jon Secrest, OBU professor of music.
Five finalists were selected to compete in the Trinity competition, including two Ouachita voice students. The other finalists included two from Arkansas Tech University and one from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
The finalists were awarded $500 each for making it into the final round of the competition, and Watson received an additional $1,000 for being named the overall winner.
“The fact that I was rewarded for having reached my goals was an unbelievable blessing and brought a lot of joy into my life,” Watson said. “I already have a savings account started where most of my monetary winnings have been going for a while. It’s a savings account for one of the most important things in the career of an actor/singer … rent money.”
Elisabeth Hipp, a senior vocal performance major from Memphis, Tenn., was the other Ouachita finalist. She is a student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, OBU professor of music.
“I honestly thought Elisabeth was going to win,” Watson said. “She’s such an incredible performer, and I was truly shocked when they made the announcement after the recitals.
“Elisabeth is my best friend and supporter,” Watson added. “She’s encouraged me with my practicing for voice and theatre to try and reach my full potential as an artist.”
Watson’s portion of the program included “The Streets of Dublin” from A Man of No Importance, “Finishing the Hat” from Sunday in the Park with George, “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” from Guys and Dolls and “Dein is mein ganzes Herz” from Das Land des Lachelns. Phyllis Walker served as accompanist for Watson and Hipp during the showcase.
“My voice teacher, Dr. J, and I sat down and really wanted to plan a program that would show me at my best,” said Watson.
The judging panel included: Cliff Baker, director and CEO of the Wildwood Park for the Arts; Edward J. Crafts, associate professor of voice and opera at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Christine Donohue, assistant professor of voice at the University of Central Arkansas; Philip Mann, the newly appointed music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; and Dr. Barry McVinney, chair of fine arts and instructor of music at Pulaski Technical College.
Six students were also recognized as Honorable Mention winners, and Ouachita student Emily Joy Tucker, a sophomore piano performance major from Hot Springs, Ark., was invited to perform a 10-12 minute showcase during the competition. This was the first time an honorable mention performer was asked to present at the competition. Tucker is a student of Dr. Ouida Keck, OBU’s Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music.
For more information about the Collegiate Performance Showcase, visit www.tumclr.org. For more information about Ouachita’s vocal studies program, contact Dr. Jon Secrest at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5134.
By Breanne Goodrum