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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Aria Competition Caps off Weekend of Opportunity for Singers

Public invited to hear participants Sunday in UM Nutt Auditorium

Sunday morning will find eight dedicated young singers, about to embark upon their professional careers, singing their hearts out at the University of Mississippi.

Each singer will perform two arias, and the winner of the competition will receive a cash prize and an invitation to return to Oxford in March to perform with the LOU Symphony Orchestra. The competition, which begins at 10 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 19) in Nutt Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

The Aria Competition is part of the Living Music Institute, a production of the Living Music Resource and the UM Department of Music that provides vocal coaching and training for exceptional singers just embarking on their careers, as well as professional and career development.

This year, the institute will focus on the performer as entrepreneur and offers participants a rare chance to learn how to develop professionally as entrepreneurs within their communities and be able to recognize and seize opportunities.

“Singers at this stage of their careers have many opportunities to perform, but very few opportunities to focus on how to approach their careers, not just their music, as a creative endeavor,” said Nancy Maria Balach, artistic director of the Living Music Resource and co-director of the institute with Amanda Johnston.

“Through LMI, artists will hone the skills they’ll need to be 21st century musicians. We’re finding that, more and more, successful musicians are creating opportunities in unexpected places to put together rewarding, mosaic-style careers.”

LMI will feature several guest lecturers and coaches who will share their experiences and expertise in the areas of marketing and media, engaging and cultivating supporters, and personal brand development.

“We’re thrilled to offer the experience of our guest lecturers Rachel Malone West, Melanie Addington and Brady Bramlett,” Balach said.

“Performers need to know how to create opportunity by networking within their communities, writing grants, starting concert series, building a voice studio, etc.,” said Korynn Lacher, an Ole Miss master’s student in music performance and the student director of this year’s institute. “LMI is offering insight into the logistics of a career in performing, which is information that most emerging singers will jump at the opportunity to learn.”

Besides the professional development training, LMI also offers advanced vocal training and coaching for participants.

“The training at LMI will be connected to specific ideas that the participants bring with them, early-stage ideas about how they can create less-traditional opportunities,” Balach said. “The sessions they attend, as well as ‘think-tank’ gatherings where they’ll receive feedback and coaching, will help them develop their ideas from a thought into a plan of action.

“This is something that will offer long-lasting benefits to their careers.”