By Katie Kemp
February 11, 2020
For more information, contact OBU’s news bureau at [email protected] or (870) 245-5208
ARKADELPHIA, Ark.––Ouachita Baptist University’s Division of Music will host the 22nd annual Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m. This event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in McBeth Recital Hall located in Mabee Fine Arts Center on Ouachita’s campus. This year’s competition will feature arias from opera and oratorio.
The Division of Music hosts the competition in honor of Mary Shambarger, professor emerita of music at Ouachita. Shambarger served as a voice instructor at Ouachita for 32 years. Most of Shambarger’s work was with choral groups, including the all-female ensemble she helped form, the Ouachi-Tones. This ensemble was later restructured in 1991 to include men and women and is now known as the Ouachita Sounds. The Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers began in 1999, shortly after the retirement of Shambarger and her husband, Dr. Jake Shambarger, professor emeritus of education.
According to Dr. Jon Secrest, Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music and coordinator of Ouachita’s vocal studies program, the most significant aspects of this competition are “its prestige, the level of performing that occurs and the artistic growth that results from concentrated practice and preparation.”
“The competition is one of the highlights of each academic year for the Division of Music,” Secrest said. “Winners receive cash awards for their outstanding performances, and the level of artistry on display is often thrilling.”
The competition’s repertoire rotates each year among arias, art songs and selections from musical theatre. Ouachita voice principals in at least their fourth semester are eligible to perform.
The judges for this year’s competition include Sammy Rhea Parrish, a 2010 Bachelor of Music in music theatre Ouachita graduate; Victoria Mantooth, a 2014 Bachelor of Music in voice performance Ouachita graduate; and Dr. Kelly Neill, associate professor of music at Harding University.
Cash prizes for the competition range from $50 to $500. Judges will award prizes to the top four performances and one honorable mention.
The competition is free to attend and will be held from 2-5 p.m. in McBeth Recital Hall in Mabee Fine Arts Center. For more information about Ouachita’s vocal studies program or the Shambarger Competition, contact Dr. Jon Secrest at [email protected] or (870) 245-5134.