Ouachita Baptist University’s Bethany Swiontek, a senior musical theatre major from Colorado Springs, Colo., was named the winner of the 2013 Trinity Presents Collegiate Performance Showcase held recently at Trinity United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Ark.
“When the host of the showcase announced that Bethany was the winner, my jaw dropped,” said Dr. Margaret Garrett, assistant professor of music and Swiontek’s voice teacher. “I was joyfully shocked.”
The five finalists from across the state, including Ouachita junior Caitlin Secrest, a vocal performance major from Arkadelphia, Ark., each were allotted 12 minutes to perform for a panel of judges.
In addition to the $500 Swiontek received for being named a finalist, she was awarded $1,000 for winning the competition.
“Bethany’s aria, ‘Robert, toi que j’aime,’ was stunning,” Garrett noted. “Her tone and resonance were brilliant. Her second song, ‘With You,’ was very moving; several of the members of the audience were wiping tears after her performance. She closed with ‘If You Hadn’t But You Did,’ an upbeat comedic piece, which was hilarious!”
Swiontek said she was initially nervous to go on stage, but “my best friend Heather White was in the audience, which makes pretty much any nerves I may have had disappear,” she said.
“I am very proud of Bethany’s accomplishments this year and know that she has great potential to succeed in a performing career if that is where God leads her,” Garrett said. “It is encouraging for me, as a teacher, when my students receive positive recognition for their hard work.”
“Dr. Garrett is one of the most kind, dedicated and knowledgeable voice teachers I have ever had and I am deeply going to miss her when I graduate,” Swiontek said. “I am so grateful to my family and friends who are always there to encourage and support me in my endeavors.”
Lately, Swiontek has been recognized repeatedly for her talent. She has placed first at both the state and regional levels of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) auditions, received the encouragement award at this year’s Arkansas District Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and will play the lead role of Dolly Levi this month in Ouachita’s production of Hello, Dolly!
Swiontek said she is “overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have had to perform, the people who have helped me prepare and the incredibly talented performers I have met and competed with.”
Four Ouachita students were also named as honorable mention recipients. Chad Burris, a sophomore musical theatre major from Van Buren, Ark.; Bradley Lindsey, a senior instrumental music major from Longview, Texas; Lola McClendon, a senior musical theatre major from Springdale, Ark.; and Joel Rogier, a junior vocal performance major from Glen Carbon, Ill., were chosen along with five other students from six universities.
For more information about the Trinity Presents Collegiate Performance Showcase, visit their website at www.tumclr.org/index.php/connect/music-ministries/trinity-presents. For more information about Ouachita’s Division of Music, visit www.obu.edu/music.
By Ryleigh Salmon