Opera’s Rising Stars Perform in Murfreesboro at 15th Annual Orpheus Vocal Competition

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Sixty young singers from 22 states will compete March 5-7 on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. at The Middle Tennessee Choral Society's 15th Annual Orpheus Vocal Competition. With $17,700 in cash awards at stake, The Orpheus has become one of the country’s preeminent opera competitions for students and young professionals. Previous Orpheus Competition winners are now performing in major Opera companies across the globe, including two at opera's pinnacle, The Met.

MTCS presents the 15th Annual Orpheus Vocal Competition

...many of our winners have gone on to perform with major opera companies all over the world...including the Metropolitan Opera"

More than 1,000 young classical and opera singers can trace their roots back to Murfreesboro, Tenn. and the Orpheus Vocal Competition.

The Middle Tennessee Choral Society is celebrating the Orpheus Vocal Competition’s 15th anniversary this March. With $17,700 in cash awards at stake, The Orpheus has become one of the country’s preeminent opera competitions for students and young professionals.

The Competition will take place March 5-7 at Hinton Music Hall on the MTSU campus with ‘the Finals’ recital beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 7. Tickets for the public performance are available at the door and are just $10 with discounts for students and seniors.

Dr. Raphael Bundage, Director of Choral Activities and Opera at MTSU and artistic director for the Orpheus Competition, said, “Every year our applicant pool becomes more and more talented. We couldn’t allow every applicant into the competition, but this year they were all deserving of the chance to perform.”

“After reviewing more than 140 applicants, we carefully narrowed the field of competitors to just over seventy contestants representing 22 states.”

“The talent of these young artists is amazing,” says Kay Garrison, Orpheus Competition organizer. “In fact, many of our winners have gone on to perform with major opera companies all over the world. One is currently performing with the Metropolitan Opera and one has been studying and performing across Europe.”

Competitors perform selections that exhibit their vocal talents before a panel of three internationally-respected judges. The rewards are a share of $17,700 in prize money and a launching pad for careers in the performing arts.

Competitors are classified within two categories. The Young Artist category features young professional vocalists between the ages of 25 and 30, while the Student category gives the stage to vocal students between the ages of 19 and 24. Each singer performs pieces for the judges they feel most fully express their talents. Only 16 singers will be asked to return on Sunday for the final recital concert.

The prize purse for the 2010 competition sets a record at $17,700. The Grand Prize for the Young Artists category is $5,000 and the top prize for the Student category is $2,500. In all, sixteen cash awards will be given out to Sunday’s performers.

Dr. Bundage explains that this competition has the largest cash awards of any competition in the U.S.
The panel of judges consists of DeeAnn Gorham, professor of voice and opera at Texas A&M University at Commerce; Benton Hess, professor of voice and music director for the Eastman opera at the renowned Eastman School of Music in New York; and John Kramar, professor of voice at the University of East Carolina and assistant director at Opera Chatauqua.

Dr. Bundage says, “The judges are well-respected in the opera and classical vocal performance circles in the United States and abroad. Almost all of our competitors know the judges as legends in this industry and many of them are excited to perform for them.”

Friends, fans and competitors in the Orpheus Competition can visit the Facebook page.

About the Orpheus Competition:
Beginning in 1996, the Middle Tennessee Choral Society has sponsored the annual Orpheus Vocal Competition to provide financial support and encouragement to singers age 19 to 30 from around the United States who are pursuing careers as vocal artists. Orpheus is the only competition of its kind in the south central United States. More information can be found on the Orpheus web site at http://www.orpheusvocal.com

About the Middle Tennessee Choral Society:
The Middle Tennessee Choral Society was organized in 1969 to present choral music of the highest caliber. Shortly after the group became a chartered, non-profit organization in 1984, under the director Dr. Raphael Bundage and general manager Kay Garrison, its purpose was broadened to include education. School groups from elementary through high school have periodically performed with the Choral Society since then to gain additional musical understanding in settings they otherwise might not experience. The Choral Society has brought many fine performers to the Murfreesboro stage, including James Earl Jones for Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" and international soprano Christine Brewer for Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis."

The Society has traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe and enjoyed two invitations to Carnegie Hall. European tours with members of the MTSU Chamber Choir included concerts in Austria, England, France, Italy, and Scandinavia. Another visit to Austria is in the offing this season.

Performer and Organizer Interviews available
J. Brooks Christol 615-796-6584 media (at) christolbranden (dot) com


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