The Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers honors Mrs. Mary Shambarger, Professor Emerita of music at Ouachita Baptist University. Mrs. Shambarger served on the music faculty for 32 years. At the time of her retirement in 1998, she was the Lena Goodwin Trimble Professor of Music. While Mrs. Shambarger served as a voice instructor and classroom teacher, the bulk of her work at Ouachita was with the choral groups she directed. She was instrumental in forming the Ouachita-Tones, and all girls ensemble. In 1991, she chose to restructure the group and formed The Ouachita Sounds, a musical ensemble of six women and six men. Mrs. Shambarger had the chance to work alongside her family while at Ouachita. Her husband, Dr. Jake Shambarger, retired as professor emeritus of education in 1996, and her daughter, Susan Shambarger Goss, graduated from Ouachita.
The competition is held the last Tuesday in February, in the beautiful W. Francis McBeth Recital Hall, located in the Mabee Fine Arts Center on the campus of Ouachita Baptist University. OBU Voice Principals in their fourth semester of study or beyond, are eligible to participate. The competition repertoire rotates annually to include Musical Theatre Selections (2019), Arias from Opera and Oratorio (2020), and Art Songs (2018), Adjudication is provided by Mary Shambarger, Professor Emerita of Music, and other distinguished voice professionals. The winner of the competition receives a cash award of $500, the second place winner $300, third place is $200, fourth place $100, and Honorable Mention $50.