MSU Vocal Arts Students Attain High Honors
First place, NOA division IV for opera theatre’s production of A Room with A View among recognitions.
Melanie Helton believes two basic forces propel students to increasing levels of success in the MSU Vocal Arts Area.
“It’s their love for the art form,” says Helton. “And high expectations from their teachers at MSU.”
As the director of the MSU Opera Theatre, Helton can point to a half-dozen phenomenal student achievements alone in the Fall of 2016 that contribute to an ever-resounding profile of vocal arts programs at the MSU College of Music.
In October, MSU’s 2015-16 production of A Room with a View received top honors in the Division IV production competition of the National Opera Association. The win marks the fifth consecutive NOA honor received by the MSU Opera Theatre under the direction of Professor Helton.
Also in October, three MSU vocal arts students were acknowledged for their talents and potential at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions/Michigan District. Sopranos Schyler Sheltrown and Catherine Goode, students of Helton, and baritone Nicholas Kreider, student of Professor of Voice and Chair of the Vocal Arts Area Richard Fracker, were three of the four singers who received Encouragement Awards during the MET auditions at Madonna University in Livonia.
Helton adds that MSU vocal arts students are being accepted into high-level summer programs, year-round young artist programs, and securing professional opportunities on a regular basis. Among those MSU alumni and their recent successes are Jonathan Kirkland as George Washington in the Chicago Broadway production of Hamilton; Brad Walker, Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera; Rob Parks, touring as Simba in The Lion King; Harry Greenleaf as Anthony in Glimmerglass Opera’s Sweeney Todd; Lindsay Kesselman in Louis Andrieesen’s opera Theatre of the World in Netherlands and Los Angeles; Matthew Scollin in Des Moines Opera’s Falstaff; and John Riesen as Alfredo in Tri-Cities Opera's La Traviata, Rodolfo in Shreveport Opera's La Bohème, and as Lensky in Chautauqua Opera's Eugene Onegin.
Richard Fracker, area chair of vocal arts at MSU, says the program is getting increasingly noticed on a national scale, which in turn, increases the quality, quantity and talent level of students drawn to the program.
“We are becoming a destination program for students,” Fracker says. “As our students experience the professional world and achieve success, others take notice and take note of the quality faculty who teaches them. Combined with the MSU College of Music’s culture of hard work and high expectations, I believe our best days are just beginning.”
Support for the MSU Opera Theatre is provided in part through a grant from the Worthington Family Foundation.