Payton Mixon, Sammy Campione win Shambarger Competition at Ouachita

Abigail Gaddis

ARKADELPHIA, Ark.—Payton Mixon, a junior musical theatre major from New Caney, Texas, and Sammy Campione, a senior musical theatre major from Waxahachie, Texas, tied for first place in Ouachita Baptist University’s 24th Annual Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers held Tuesday, Feb. 22, in Ouachita’s McBeth Recital Hall. 

The competition is named for the late Mary Shambarger, professor emerita of music at Ouachita. Shambarger served on the music faculty for 32 years, teaching voice and directing student choral groups until her retirement in 1998. The Shambarger Competition provides students the opportunity to showcase their talents and gain experiences in performing and auditioning.  

Mixon and Campione both received an award of $500. Mixon sang “Two Little Lines” by Drew Gasparini from “Circles.” Campione sang “Mama Says” by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford from “Footloose.” Susan Monroe served as collaborative pianist for both performances. 

“When they called my name for first place, I was in total shock,” said Mixon. “Everyone at the competition brought their A-Game.” 

Campione said, “It was wonderful to tie with my recital partner. We were so giddy it worked out that way.”   

Sara Kate Cole, a junior musical theatre major from Fort Smith, Ark., won second place and a prize of $300 for her performance of “Killer Instinct” by Lin-Manuel Miranda from “Bring it On: The Musical.” Erin Bagley, a junior musical theatre major from White Oak, Texas, won third place and a prize of $200 for her performance of “Screw Loose” by Adam Schlesinger and David Javerbaum from “Cry-Baby.” Phyllis Walker was collaborative pianist for both performances. 

Avery Stahl and Chaney Campbell tied for fourth place, both receiving a $100 award. Stahl, a sophomore vocal music education major from Russellville, Ark., sang “Cute Boys with Short Haircuts” by David Kirshenbaum from “Vanities.” Kristen La Madrid was her collaborative pianist. Campbell, a junior music industry major from Rogers, Ark., sang “So Big, So Small” from “Dear Evan Hansen.” Walker was her collaborative pianist. 

Eli Butler, a sophomore musical theatre major from Greenwood, Ark., received honorable mention and an award of $50. He sang “Wondering” by Jason Robert Brown from “The Bridges of Madison County,” and Walker was his collaborative pianist. 

Mixon, Cole, Stahl, Campbell and Butler are students of Dr. Glenda Secrest, professor of music at Ouachita. Campione is a student of Dr. Jon Secrest, Ouachita’s Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music, and Bagley is a student of Dr. Margaret Garrett, professor of music at Ouachita. 

Judges for this year’s competition were Tony Award-winning producer Will Trice, newly-appointed executive artistic director of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre; choreographer and dance instructor Moriah Patterson, a graduate of Ouachita; and singer and director Caitlin Secrest, also a Ouachita alum. 

For more information about the Shambarger Competition, contact Dr. Jon Secrest at [email protected] or at (870) 245-5134. 

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