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Ouachita Stories


Elisabeth Hipp wins OBU’s annual Shambarger competition

March 09, 2009 - Emory Jacobs

Ouachita Baptist University recently held its annual Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers. In this year’s art song competition, Elisabeth Hipp of Memphis, Tenn., a sophomore choral music education student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, was named the first place winner and received an award of $500.

Second place was awarded to Maggie Taylor of Russellville, Ark., a sophomore choral music education student of Mary Worthen, who received a $300 award. Third place was awarded to Kyle Huey of Grapevine, Texas, a senior musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, who received a $200 award. Fourth place was awarded to Jacob Watson of Wynne, Ark., a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, who received a $100 award.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Doug Brady of Saginaw, Texas, a sophomore musical theatre student of Dr. Glenda Secrest, and Samantha Parrish of Forney, Texas, a junior musical theatre student of Dr. Jon Secrest, with each receiving $50 awards.

Hipp sang a piece by Luigi Arditi titled Il Bacio, Italian for “The Kiss.”

“It's a very fun and energetic piece that entails many jumps and leaps in the voice as well as vocal runs,” Hipp said. “These represent the excitement of the one singing concerning her love and the exhilaration from her lover's kiss and embrace.

“It is a huge honor to have received this award,” Hipp said. “I am so thankful for opportunities such as the Mary Shambarger Competition that the music department offers, because they allow students, such as me, to acquire even more experience in performance.

“Also, it is so amazing to be able to watch my fellow students perform and simply be reminded of what an incredible vocal music program we have,” Hipp added. “The caliber of singing that occurred was outstanding! I'm so honored to be in a music program where there is so much talent all around me.”

“I am thrilled,” said Dr. Glenda Secrest, Hipp’s instructor and OBU associate professor of music. “She has worked so hard and put the time in, and it is very rewarding as her teacher to see the potential that she has. She is the total package in her singing ability and character.”

Dr. Jon Secrest, professor of music, instructed several of the other students who placed in the competition.

“The competition provides an important opportunity for our upper class voice principals to bring their musicianship and artistry to stage with the hopes of winning generous prize monies,” Secrest said.

“It also creates an important opportunity for our voice teachers to cultivate the natural artistry that exists in each student,” he added, “as well as an important opportunity to fellowship with our beloved Mrs. Shambarger, whose lasting influence on the OBU vocal studies program continues today.”

The Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers is in honor of Mrs. Mary Shambarger, OBU professor emerita of music. The competition rotates genre annually among art song, aria and musical theatre.

Shambarger served on the OBU music faculty for 32 years, during which she was influential in forming the Ouachita-Tones, an all-girls singing ensemble, and later restructuring it into the Ouachita Sounds, a small mixed ensemble. She stays involved by helping judge the competition which is held the last Tuesday in February each year in McBeth Recital Hall on Ouachita’s campus.


by Emory Jacobs