During the recent National Opera Association Conference, TLU Director of Vocal Studies Dr. Lilly Guerrero and sophomore music majors Gabriella Garza and Bailey Kaysa were named an Honorable Mention in the Collegiate Opera Scenes competition.
In Spring 2021, Garza and Kaysa participated in the new course Music/Opera Theatre Workshop where part of their final exam was to record a staged and costumed scene from a musical. Dr. Guerrero submitted this scene to the National Opera Association Robert Hansen Collegiate Scenes Competition, and TLU was selected as one of four national finalists in their category. The students then received generous funding from the TLU Peeples Fund for travel and lodging. While at the conference,Garza and Kaysa got to work with composer/pianist Michael Ching and meet many graduate school and summer program recruiters, including TLU alumna Dr. Lori Bade who teaches at Louisiana State University.
During the Collegiate Opera Scenes competition, TLU was in the Musical Theatre category along Texas Tech University, the University of Missouri St. Louis, and the University of Delaware. Garza and Kaysa were the youngest competitors across all categories and TLU received Honorable Mention for last night's performance.
"IThis recognition is wonderful news for TLU as our reputation grows in the area of vocal performance," Guerrero said. "We have received additional funding from Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sarah Ferguson starting in Fall 2022 to expand our opera and musical theatre program to include fully staged shows and a summer musical theatre recruitment camp for high school singers. The TLU School of Music is the ideal place for students who want to be nurtured in an individualized environment while also striving for excellence."
In the past year alone, five TLU students have received positive feedback for their success in statewide and regional competitions. Guerrero also said many professors from other universities who saw Kaysa's and Garza's performance talked with them after about attending their summer program or graduate school.
"As I have mentioned before, I strongly believe in lifting while I climb," Guerrero said. "My goal for the voice area at TLU is for every student to leave feeling empowered by owning their artistry and feeling secure that they have a place in the music community after graduation. It was an honor to watch Gabby and Bailey truly embrace their talent and hard work, and I know that when they leave TLU they will be excellent singers, educators, and human beings."