By Lauren Bridgeman, Staff Writer
March 14, 2022
Ouachita’s School of Fine Arts Division of Music hosted the 24th annual Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers last week. The event was held at the West Francis McBeth Recital Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 22. This year’s theme was Musical Theatre.
A total of 20 students participated in the competition, with four collaborative pianists assisting in their performance. Will Trice, Moriah Patterson and Caitlin Secrest were invited by the School of Fine Arts to judge the performance. Patterson and Secrest are Ouachita alumni, and all judges have won multiple awards in musical theatre.
Sammy Campione and Payton Mixon tied for the first place $500 award, Sara Kate Cole won the second place $300 award, Erin Bagley won the third place $200 award, Chaney Campbell and Avery Stahl tied for the fourth place $100 award and Eli Butler won the $50 honorable mention award.
Campione and Mixon had the same collaborative pianist, Susan Monroe. Campione is taught by Dr. Jon Secrest, and Mixton is taught by Dr. Glenda Secrest.
“I definitely get nervous before any type of performance, but I felt so well prepared,” Mixon said. “My voice teacher Dr. Glenda Secrest has taught me to be a well-rounded and hard-working performer, so I felt ready.”
Mixon performed “Two Little Lines” from Drew Gasparini’s Circles.
Campione was grateful to win first place and to share the success with a close friend.
“It’s an honor to tie with my recital partner, Payton,” Campione said.
Campione performed “Mama Says” from Footloose.
“I love doing that song. It’s one of Ms. Monroe’s favorites to play. I’ve had that song since freshman year and she’s been playing it with me just as long,” Campione said.
Stahl, one of two fourth place winners, gave a performance of “Cute Boys with Short Haircuts” from David Kirshenbaum’s Vanities, with Kristen La Madrid as her pianist.
Campbell also won fourth place and performed “So Big, So Small,” a heartfelt song from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s Dear Evan Hansen with her accompanying pianist, Phyllis Walker.
Pianist Phyllis Walker also accompanied second place winner Sara Kate Cole, who won second place for her performance of “Killer Instinct,” from Lin Manuel Miranda’s Bring It On: The Musical.
Erin Bagley, a first-time participant in the competition won third place for her performance of “Screw Loose” from Cry Baby. Bagley’s voice teacher is Dr. Garrett, and she was accompanied by Phyllis Walker.
“My song is very big and loud, so my favorite part was just having fun and hearing laughs from the audience,” Bagley said.
Each of the 20 participants developed close connections with their pianist and voice teacher as they worked to deliver their best performance. Two tied places speak to the talent within the Division of Music.