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Salley Advances in Met Opera Auditions; Gates Also Wins
Two Oklahoma City University singers were honored at the 2008 Tulsa District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Soprano Jessica Salley, a graduate student from OCU’s Bass School of Music, will advance to the Midwest Regional Auditions in January 2009. Fellow OCU singer Jeffrey Gates received the Trudy Oliphant Sundgren Young Singer Encouragement Award. “This was truly a great showing for our school,” said Professor Jan McDaniel, who accompanied both singers on piano. Salley studies voice with Professor Florence Birdwell. Gates, a junior, is from the studio of Dr. William Christensen. Both are featured in the upcoming production of La Rondine. Also this year, OCU alumna Lori Fisher ’06 won the Central Illinois District Met Competition. She is from the studio of Professor Larry Keller. The mission of the Metropolitan Opera National Council's Auditions program is to discover talented opera singers, assist their development, and discover new talent for the Metropolitan Opera. Winners are potential participants in the Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera Association. Met young artist winner receive one year of specialized coaching and vocal teaching. Oklahoma City University has a history of success in the Met Opera auditions. Former OCU district and regional winners who went on to star on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera include Sarah Coburn, Kristin Chenoweth, Leona Mitchell and Marquita Lister. Trudy Oliphant Sundgren Young Singer Encouragement Award winners from OCU include Jonathan Hill and John Glann. Hill was selected for the Young American Artist Program at Glimmerglass Opera. Glann is now head of vocal studies at Wickham Vocal Studios in Manhattan. Other winners include Tressa Waggoner, now assistant director of Youth Opera for Tulsa Opera; coloratura soprano Courtney Kalbacker; Jennifer Kerber, who went on to earn her doctorate and return to the Bass School of Music to teach; Tara Kahler; Becky Miner Salter, now completing her doctorate degree; Ariela Carmi; Ann Graber; and April Golliver, a member of the faculty at Oklahoma State University.