Claire Krieger, Senior Staff Writer

Friday, Miami University had the honor of hosting one of the first round competitions for the seventh annual High School & University Vocal Competition, sponsored by Classical Singer Magazine.

This is the first time Miami has hosted one of the first round regionals. The competition started in 2005 as part of the Classical Singer convention.

The magazine’s founder, opera singer Carla Wood, wanted to give high school classical singers a college fair to attend and worked to start the convention.

For fun, as part of the convention, a singing competition for high school students was added. The first year, about 40 students competed and the competition was so popular that over the years, undergraduate and graduate student level competitions have been added.

This year, the entire competition is expected to feature approximately 1,200 students. There are 50 first round regional locations across the country and an online submission option for students who cannot make it to one of the locations.

The first-round competitions started in late October and run through March. There is no set number of finalists who advance from each round, but judges are instructed to choose approximately half of the competitors from each of the three divisions to advance.

The finalists from each round will compete during the Classical Singer convention in Chicago from May 25-27. At the national level, prizes for the winners include $2 million in scholarships, $100,000 in summer program scholarships and $60,00 in cash prizes.

Miami was chosen to host one of the first rounds through the work of Miami alumnus Linda McAlister, who now teaches voice lessons in the Cincinnati area and acts as the executive director for the summer singing program called SongFest.

She worked with the vocal department at Miami to contact Classical Singer about hosting the competition.

“[Miami] actually approached me. They wanted to give their students the opportunity to compete close to home … they were enthusiastic about hosting it so we went with them and they have been great so far,” Alex Stoddard, the general manager for the magazine, said.

McAlister judged Miami’s regional competition Friday along with Miami voice professors Mari Opatz-Muni and Audrey Luna. Hosting this regional round gives the Department of Music a great chance to showcase its many assets to talented young singers from throughout the region.

“[Miami’s] is a good program from which to have an undergraduate degree mainly because you get a lot of support from the teachers and there are lots of opportunities to perform … we are hoping to show that to talented high school students that are coming to Miami for the competition,” McAlister said.

First-year Max Jansen competed in the event.

“The competition has been a great opportunity for Miami to increase its visibility amongst singers in the area. It was also a great opportunity for Miami students to interact with students from other schools,” Jansen said.

Approximately 20 students from Miami and surrounding universities and high schools competed in the competition Friday.