Shambarger Competition returns to McBeth Recital Hall

February 20, 2024

By Kate Ellis, News Editor

It is not uncommon for retired Ouachita professors and faculty, who are often loved and well-remembered, to leave their mark on campus, whether it be the name of a bench, building or event. In the case of the Shambarger Competition, a musical competition honoring Mrs. Mary Shambarger, Professor Emerita of Music and the Lena Goodwin Trimble Professor of Music, it is the latter. Mrs. Shambarger held a place on the music faculty for 32 years, until her time at Ouachita drew to an end in 1998, when she retired. She was responsible for the formation of the Ouachi-Tones and The Ouachita Sounds, musical ensembles of Ouachita music students. She also served as a vocal instructor and professor. Dr. Candice Aipperspach, Associate Professor of Music at Ouachita, shares the importance of the competition. 

“This is an annual competition in its 26th year here at OBU and builds on the legacy of the legendary voice professor, Mary Shambarger—who passed this past year,” Aipperspach said. “This competition provides OBU voice principals with the opportunity to present their God-given talents and potentially win some money in the process.”

The Shambarger Competition will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. in Francis McBeth Recital Hall in Mabee Fine Arts Center. It is free and open to the pubic. The competition’s yearly theme is on a rotating basis, with 2023’s theme being an aria competition, and the year prior to that being musical theater. This year students are preparing for the art song theme, the third and final theme of the rotation, which was last done in 2021.  The competition will have cash prizes for the top 3 winners and an honorable mention award. The winner of the competition will receive a cash award of $500, the second place winner $300, third place is $200, and the honorable mention will receive $100. The competitors will be judged and the winners will be decided by a panel of voice professionals throughout the competition. Aipperspach shares what she expects from this year’s competition.

“We have nine participants this year who each sing one song of their choosing,” Aipperspach said. “I am looking forward to seeing students blossom and hone their performing instincts. The best way to get better at competing is to…compete!”

Ouachita’s School of Fine Arts Division of Music boasts many talented students, and the Shambarger Competition is an incredible way to keep rich tradition alive, honor a valued staff member, allow students to showcase the skills they have been crafting and offer scholarship compensation to participants. To the audience, this competition may seem nerve wracking or anxiety inducing, but to Ouachita’s music students, it is just another day of performance, another outlet to take what they have been learning in Mabee classrooms to the stage of McBeth Recital Hall.

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