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WCSU Student Singers Earn Honors; Local Woman Among Them



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According to a press release issued by Western Connecticut State University, ten voice students “have garnered prestigious honors in competition with collegiate singers across New England and the nation sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the National Opera Association.”

Among the WCSU student singers that placed in the NATS New England Regional Competition, qualifying them to advance to this year’s online NATS National Semi-final Competition, is 2015 Newtown High School graduate Madelyn Aug.

Now a junior at WCSU majoring in Music Education, the young soprano expressed an ongoing love of music in an e-mail interview with The Newtown Bee.

“I was very involved in music in high school,” Madelyn said. “I did the school musicals every year, and was also in five singing groups throughout my time there.” Her vocal dedication in high school included four choirs and an a cappella girls’ group, she said.

Her recent honor was a different kind of competition, as will be the upcoming June 25 NATS National Semi-Finals Competition — presenting her vocal pieces online.

Madelyn performed four songs in the regional competition and performers, she said, are required to sing the same songs for the semi-finals. She will once again perform “Vedrai, carino” from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni; “Après un rêve” by Fauré; “Of That So Sweet Imprisonment” by Barber; and “Heidenröslein” by Schubert.

Preparation for online competition is very different from performing in person, Madelyn noted. Not being able to practice with a live accompanist takes getting used to.

“The singer and piano player usually work together in person and the accompanist will take the singer’s lead when it comes to tempo, breath marks, pauses, etc,” she explained. “In this situation, the singer must listen to a recorded accompaniment over and over to memorize where the piano part stretches or changes tempos and all that. This way, the singer and piano will be in sync in the video recording,” said Madelyn. She is very grateful, she added, to “Andrew Gordon, for being the most amazing, understanding, and adaptable vocal coach and accompanist; and my voice teacher, Laura Mashburn, for helping me make these decisions, although none of us have been able to meet in person.”

In addition to her solo competition work, when school is in session Madelyn sings with the WCSU University Choir, Chamber Singers, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, as well as occasionally with the operas.

Hard work continues as this local singer prepares for the next competition, but it does not dampen her love of giving life to melodies.

“The best part about singing,” she said, “is that it is an expressive outlet. There is no better way for me to channel emotions and make connections. Every song tells a story, and the singer needs to dig deep and find a way that it can connect to their own life. When you perform, you do not want to just tell someone else’s story, but use it to inspire you in your own personal way.”

The WCSU release states that “The NATS is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members in the United States, Canada and more than 35 other countries. The New England Region of the NATS encompasses members in the six New England states as well as in the four Maritime provinces of Canada.

The NATS sponsors its student audition and singing competition programs at the regional and national levels as part of its mission to promote the artistic and professional development of collegiate singers. The association also offers a variety of lifelong learning experiences to its members through workshops, internships, master classes and conferences at both the chapter and national levels.”

Madelyn Aug of Newtown was among the WCSU student singers qualifying to advance to this year’s online NATS National Semi-final Competition. —photo courtesy Madelyn Aug
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