Ouachita Baptist University’s Division of Music will host the 21st annual Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. The performance, which is free and open to the public, will be held in McBeth Recital Hall in Mabee Fine Arts Center. This year’s repertoire will include selections from musical theatre.
The Mary Shambarger Competition was created in honor of Mary Shambarger, professor emerita of music at Ouachita. Shambarger served as a university faculty member for 32 years as a classroom teacher, voice instructor and choir director. She started an all-girl ensemble known as the Ouachi-Tones, which later became a mixed ensemble, The Ouachita Sounds. She and her husband, Dr. Jake Shambarger, professor emeritus of education, began the competition after they retired from Ouachita.
The Shambarger Competition “provides motivation toward artistic growth and development,” said Dr. Jon Secrest, Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music and coordinator of Ouachita’s vocal studies program. “Invariably, our students invest themselves heavily in their preparation for this event. Every student who competes is looking to put their best foot forward.
“Some of the most memorable individual performances ever given by our students were during this event,” Secrest added.
The competition is open to Ouachita voice principals in at least their sophomore year. The competition repertoire rotates on a three-year cycle between music theatre selections, arias from opera and art songs; this allows students to participate in each style of vocal literature before graduating. This year’s competition will feature musical theatre songs, and there will be a larger than usual number of participants. Cash awards range from $50 to $500.
This year’s panel of judges will include three former contestants of the Shambarger Competition: Michelle Chapman, 4th place winner of the 2004 music theatre competition and 1st place winner of the 2005 aria competition; Kirt Thomas, 2nd place winner of the 2007 music theatre competition; and Caitlin Secrest, 1st place winner of the 2012 art song competition, 2nd place winner of the 2013 music theatre competition and 1st place winner in the 2014 aria competition.
“The event enriches the lives of those involved,” Secrest said. “The audience derives great enjoyment from watching the beautifully invested performances of our competitors.”
The event is free and will be held from 2-5 p.m. in McBeth Recital Hall located in the Mabee Fine Arts Center.
For more information on Ouachita’s vocal studies program or the Shambarger Competition, contact Dr. Jon Secrest at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5134.
By Tiffany Lee
February 12, 2019