Lamar voice students earn first place in competition

Serdar Ilban

Lamar University voice students from the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music earned numerous award placements in a regional voice competition at the University of Houston.

Students competed in the annual Greater Houston Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) classical auditions in April.  

“We all are very proud of our students' staggering success,” said Serdar Ilban, director of Lamar Opera Theatre, and assistant professor of voice. “Almost all of the finalists and winners in college undergraduate and advanced adult categories were Lamar students, and they competed against students from some of the top-tier schools in the Houston area.”

First-place winners from Lamar University include Chalay Moore of Houston; Othello Edwards, Dallas; Dorian McCall, Fresno; Ebony Green, Pearland; and Cara McKinney, Norfolk, Va.

Second-place winners were Chelsee Jernigan, Deer Park; Eric Gonzales, Fort Bend; Tayler Thibodeaux, Groves; Keenan Kelley, Peoria, Ill.; DeVante Shay, Beaumont; Levi Duncan, Carthage; and Christine Phares, Orange.

David Dalton, Spring; Geralyn Harper, Houston; Christopher Martin, Beaumont; and Victor Becerril, Rosenberg, took third place rankings.

Kristin Tuttle, Friendswood; Jamie Ellis, Sour Lake; Brooke Gipson, Baytown; Elise Wilson, Orange; Anthony Cook, El Lago; Sarah Jackson, Lufkin; Rosalene Mitchell, Beaumont; and Randi Holst, Port Neches, were semi-finalists in the competition.

Music faculty members who provided voice instruction for the students were Ilban, Isabelle Ganz, Debra Greschner and Angela Pickering.

Participants in the event consisted of more than 200 competitors, including high school, college, graduate and adult, registered by 36 different voice teachers. Of the 28 Lamar students who participated, 24 were recognized as either finalists or semifinalists, with five taking first place, seven in second place, four in third place and eight semifinalists.

Other schools represented in the competition were Houston Baptist University, San Jacinto Community College, Lone Star College - Kingwood and University of St. Thomas.

First place winners received a gift card to use for music purchases and will perform at a winners' recital in October.