Two Ouachita Baptist University music students were recently named Arkansas state winners in the National Federation of Music Club’s (NFMC) biennial Student/Collegiate Auditions. T.J. Bailey was named first place winner in the piano division and Caitlin Secrest was named first place winner of the women’s voice division.
As winners, they each received a $200 cash prize and have been invited to perform at the Arkansas Federation of Music Club’s state convention, May 3-4, at Ouachita. Both Bailey and Secrest’s work will also move on to the national level for judging.
“This competition is a major way in which the National Federation of Music Clubs encourages young talented student musicians to continue their musical development,” said Dr. Ouida Keck, Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music.
The NFMC is a “non-profit philanthropic and educational organization dedicated to music education and promotion of creative and performing arts in America since 1898,” according to its website.
“This particular competition has very specific requirements when applying or auditioning and one of the most important stipulations was that the audition be strictly audio,” said Secrest, a junior vocal performance major from Arkadelphia, Ark. “Rather than seeing the complete package … their evaluations were based on what they heard.”
Bailey, a junior church music major from Fort Smith, Ark., was named the 2012 winner of the annual Virginia Queen Piano Competition, is a member of the Ouachita Singers choir and is the current president for the OBU chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia national fraternity for men in music. He is a student of Dr. Keck.
“T.J. came to audition for a piano scholarship at Ouachita and his playing and academic record led us all to believe he had great potential as a pianist and music major,” Keck said.
“Dr. Keck has helped me grow immensely, and not just in my piano playing,” Bailey said. “She has been the first person aside from my parents to really push me to achieve my potential.
“I was honored to hear that I had been chosen first in the state,” Bailey added. “I’m excited to find out how my performance competes at the national level.”
Bailey said he enjoyed the recording process more than performing live. “I think I benefited from the relaxed atmosphere,” he said. Bailey recorded “Prelude and Fugue No. 10 in E Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Presto” from “Sonata Op. 10 No. 3 in D major” by Ludwig van Beethoven, “Polonaise Op. 26, No. 1” by Frédéric Chopin, “Passacaglia” by Aaron Copland and “Etude Op. 2, No.1” by Alexander Scriabin.
Secrest, a soprano, was named the first place winner of the 2012 Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers, has been a finalist at the state and regional levels of the National Association of Teachers of Singing auditions and is a member of the Ouachita Concert Choir.
Secrest recorded “Ah! Je veux vivre” from Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod, “Come unto Him” from Messiah by George Frideric Handel, “Nel cor più non mi sento” by Giovanni Paisiello, “Breit’ über mein Haupt” by Richard Strauss, “J’ai pleuré en rêve” by Georges Hüe, “Where the Music Comes From” by Lee Hoiby, “Heart, we will forget him” by Aaron Copland and “Dreaming” by Lori Laitman.
Secrest said she was surprised to be chosen as the state winner. “I went into the competition thinking it was a long shot, but God provides true blessings,” she said. “I am so very humbled to represent not only myself, but my parents and Ouachita.”
Secrest is a student of her parents, Dr. Jon Secrest and Dr. Glenda Secrest, professors of music. “Studying with them works out so easily because their teaching is not based on negativity or criticism,” Secrest added. “It comes from a desire to build me into the best complete artist that I can be. … It is not easy by any means. Because they know me so well, they know my capabilities and expect more from me.
“As a voice teacher, you are always proud of your students’ accomplishments, but it is obviously extra special because she is my daughter,” Dr. Glenda Secrest said. “You could say I’m doubly proud!”
By Ryleigh Salmon