Caitlin Secrest, a rising senior at Ouachita Baptist University and a native of Arkadelphia, Ark., was recently named a finalist in the 2013 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition.
The competition was held entirely through YouTube video entries and is hosted by the Hal Leonard Corporation, “the world’s largest publisher/distributor of vocal music in all styles,” according to its website. Secrest, a vocal performance major at Ouachita, was selected as a finalist in the College/University Voices division of the Art Song category, one of only three female singers recognized in that classification.
“There are always more female singers than male singers in any competition (probably around a three to one ratio),” said Dr. Jon Secrest, coordinator of Ouachita’s vocal studies program and professor of music. “To be one of the female singers honored in this way is an incredible accomplishment.”
“I am incredibly honored to see that out of hundreds of competitors from all across the country, I was considered competitive and worthy of recognition,” Caitlin Secrest said. “It is encouraging to know that not only do I have support from my fellow teachers and peers at Ouachita, but I also have the support of other experienced professionals outside of school. This recognition has given me a boost of confidence that is always so appreciated by any singer.”
The competition received approximately 1,000 entries from throughout the U.S. and Canada and features two categories, Art Song and Musical Theatre, with four age divisions within each category. More than $13,000 in cash and gift certificates were awarded during this year’s third annual competition.
“We are especially excited about creating a constructive way for voice students from diverse locations to see and hear one another,” said Richard Walters, vice president for classical and vocal publications at Hal Leonard.
“Hal Leonard is one of the most prestigious publishers of vocal music in the country,” noted Dr. Jon Secrest. “Their intense scrutiny of the entrants’ video submissions led to these results, making this a very significant honor in the professional life of these young singers.” Dr. Jon Secrest and Dr. Glenda Secrest, professor of music, are Caitlin’s vocal instructors at Ouachita and also are her parents.
“In times of success, I particularly like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supports me in my musical and performing endeavors,” Caitlin Secrest added. “Without the support of my colleagues, professors, friends, family, and most importantly, my parents, I would never have the endurance to run the race that is before me. I look forward to preparing another audition for next year’s Hal Leonard Vocal Competition.”
For more information about the competition, visit www.halleonard.com/vocalcomp, and for more information about Ouachita’s vocal studies program, contact Dr. Jon Secrest at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5134.
By Brooke Zimny