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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Campus singers to compete for cash, your affection”

    On Sunday, students will duke it out for a piece of $8,000 in prize money at the eighth annual Quest for the Best vocal competition at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre.

    The competition is a partnership between the Opera Guild of Southern Arizona and the UA schools of Music and Dance. All participants are students, most from the UA.

    “”There’s not that much of an opportunity to get an appreciation for classical singing like opera around town,”” said Frank Finkenberg, a member of the opera guild’s board of directors and web designer for the Arizona State Museum.

    “”The larger purpose of this and doing it on the university campus is to invite all students to come and see what opera is all about, as sung by young singers,”” he said.

    Undergraduate contestants will begin by singing one aria, a five to six-minute operatic song. Audience members will then vote for their top three performers, and the ballots will be tallied before intermission. After a performance by the UA School of Dance, the graduates will deliver their arias, and the audience will again vote for their top three singers.

    “”The unique thing about this is that it is all done by audience vote. It’s no experts doing their arcane thing. It’s who did the audience like,”” Finkenberg said.

    This year 11 undergraduate and eight graduate students will compete. All participants get $100 for their efforts and expenses. The top prizes come in around $750 for undergraduates and $1,500 for graduates, according to Finkenberg.

    Contest organizers are guaranteed to present at least $8,000 in cash to participants.

    “”The main reason is to get those singers on a live stage,”” he said. “”They really need that experience.””

    Finkenberg said the university support from administration and professors has been great. But this year, they are hoping for more participation from student audience members. The contest is a great chance for students “”to give opera a chance,”” Finkenberg said. “”To see how their fellow students do it with such passion and skill, to see how hard these kids work and how much real skill is involved … It’s very different from Broadway or popular music.””

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