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Applications Open for Opera Grand Rapids' 13th Annual Vocal Competition


Opera Grand Rapids will host its annual Collegiate Vocal Competition November 19-20, providing an opportunity for West Michigan's finest budding vocal artists to compete in a professionally-judged competition for cash prizes.

First round auditions are held on November 19 and the finalists will compete in a final round concert open to the public the following evening-both held at the Betty Van Andel Opera Center. Opera Grand Rapids is accepting applications for the competition through November 4.

In its 13th year, the Opera Grand Rapids Collegiate Vocal Competition is open to student vocalists being trained full-time at one of Opera Grand Rapids' seven West Michigan area colleges and universities in the Opera Grand Rapids Collegiate Consortium. The consortium includes Aquinas College, Calvin College, Hope College, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University.

Applicants may compete in one of two divisions, depending on their seniority in school. In addition to being recognized for excellence by a professional opera company, winners of Division I and Division II will receive cash prizes. Perhaps the most significant benefit to applicants is the opportunity to receive constructive feedback from high profile vocal professionals.

The final round concert will feature prominent Michigan-based judges, Contralto Meredith Arwady, Professor of Voice and Chair of Vocal Arts at Michigan State University, Dr. Richard Fracker, and Director of Orchestras, String Specialist and Assistant Professor at Grand Rapids Community College, Dr. Libor Ondras.

Opera Grand Rapids General Director Anne Berquist believes that the Vocal Competition is one of the best educational experiences that the organization offers.

"This is a great opportunity for young artists to gain experience in performing, and to receive feedback from a panel of professionals who can pass along the wisdom they have accumulated through their years of experience," Berquist said.

The Opera Grand Rapids Collegiate Vocal Competition is known for being a stepping stone for its winners. Previous winners, such as 2007 Division I winner Jason Coffey and 2008 Division I winner Christine Amon, have since built successful careers in opera, performing with the company in professional roles and as part of its Emerging Artists program and at other prestigious opera companies. Last June, Coffey and Amon had starring roles in Opera Grand Rapids production of Sigmund Romberg's "The Student Prince."

Applicants may learn more about eligibility requirements, competition rules and more at

The competition's final round concert, held at 7:00 p.m. on November 20, is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and provided on a first-come basis at the door. To learn more about Opera Grand Rapids Collegiate Vocal Competition Concert, visit

Located in the heart of West Michigan, Opera Grand Rapids is the state's longest-running professional opera production company. Through the creativity and excellence of this timeless art form, Opera Grand Rapids enriches the West Michigan community and provides unique and powerful experiences that move people of all ages and backgrounds. Opera Grand Rapids' productions are produced and presented locally in West Michigan. For the productions, Opera Grand Rapids engages a cast of internationally acclaimed artists, stage directors, conductors, choreographers, set designers, costume designers, and others, in addition to the regional Grand Rapids Symphony, and Opera Grand Rapids Chorus and Children's Chorus.

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