Two Ouachita Baptist University students will compete as finalists in this year’s Trinity Presents Collegiate Performance Showcase sponsored by Trinity United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Ark. on Sunday, April 7, at 6 p.m. Caitlin Secrest, a junior vocal performance major from Arkadelphia, Ark., and Bethany Swiontek, a senior musical theatre major from Colorado Springs, Colo., will represent Ouachita as two of five finalists from universities across the state. Four other Ouachita students received honorable mentions in the competition.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the music students from throughout the state of Arkansas to be recognized for the outstanding development of their performance medium,” said Dr. Jon Secrest, OBU professor of music and coordinator of Ouachita’s vocal studies program.
Other finalists in the competition include Amy Frenzel, a pianist from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Rachel Herman, a violinist from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; and Masaru Sakuma, a pianist from the University of Central Arkansas.
The finalists will be allotted 12 minutes each to perform for a panel of judges, who will evaluate each performance and select an overall winner.
Caitlin Secrest, a soprano, will sing “Tarentelle” by Georges Bizet, “Prendi, per me sei libero” from L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano Donizetti and “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide by Leonard Bernstein.
This is Secrest’s third consecutive year to audition for the showcase and she was named an honorable mention recipient for the past two years. “As a freshman, I was introduced to this competition by my voice teachers/parents,” Secrest said. “The competition has grown larger and more competitive with each year that I’ve participated. This affirmation encouraged me to continue to work hard and earn a spot in the finals of the competition.”
Dr. Jon Secrest and Dr. Glenda Secrest, professors of music, are “proud of the incredible work ethic and dedication that Caitlin possesses, and her willingness to spend the hours in the practice room which lead to productive work and results of this nature,” Dr. Jon Secrest said.
Bethany Swiontek, also a soprano, will perform the French aria “Robert, Robert toi que j’aime” from Robert le diable by Giacomo Meyerbeer, “With You” from Ghost The Musical by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard and “If You Hadn’t But You Did” from Two On the Aisle by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
“When I think about Bethany as a freshman and Bethany today, I am overwhelmed with pride for her and a sense of joy for the positive recognition she is receiving as a result of her years of hard work,” said Dr. Margaret Garrett, assistant professor of music and Swiontek’s voice teacher. “She does not simply ride on her talent, but continues to work hard to become even better at what she does.”
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.
“I was happy to be chosen as honorable mention, especially within the competition where there were so many amazing musicians,” Lindsey said.
McClendon agreed, saying, “The amount of talent in this competition is insanely amazing, so being recognized for is it unbelievable.”
“The last few years, OBU has had a strong track record of both finalists and honorable mention recipients in this competition,” Dr. Jon Secrest noted. In 2012, Grace Johnson was a finalist; in 2011, Jacob Watson placed first in the competition and Elisabeth Hipp was a finalist; and in 2010, Kyle Huey placed first and Hipp also was a finalist.
“We have an incredibly gifted and talented music program at Ouachita with professors who accept nothing less than excellence from all of us,” Swiontek said. “It never surprises me when so many of us are able to succeed.”
For more information on the Trinity Presents Collegiate Performance Showcase, visit their website at http://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