Music major competes in national voice competition on July 4

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Ethan Bennett selected to compete in National Association of Teachers of Singing competition

While some spent the Fourth of July weekend barbequing with friends and enjoying fireworks, Lipscomb student Ethan Bennett was in Boston, singing in front of a panel of three prestigious judges in a national competition.

Bennett, a rising sophomore choral music education major from Cincinnati, Ohio, competed at the National Association of Teachers of Singing student auditions, held this year at the Boston Conservatory of Music.

To get to Boston, Bennett began preparing months in advance. In April, the regional level competition was held at Vanderbilt University, where Bennett competed with students from Kentucky and Tennessee for a chance to advance to the national level.

There, Bennett placed second in the freshmen men’s category, which allowed him to audition for the semi-finals national round. Bennett was then required to record and submit a YouTube audition video in May, which was evaluated by a panel of adjudicators, who chose 14 students in the freshmen and sophomore men’s division.

Ethan brings a rare convergence of talent and commitment to the work of training required at this level of competition,” said Jean Miller, voice faculty at Lipscomb. “Singing at the NATS national convention is a tremendous honor.  Ethan performed with panache and represented Lipscomb University in an exceptional manner.”

“I’m sure Ethan competed against freshmen and sophomore men from some of the largest and best schools in the country. To be in the top 14 is extremely prestigious,” said Gary Wilson, professor of music and director of choral activities at Lipscomb.

For the national competition, Bennett prepared three songs – a classical song in Italian, a classical song in English and an aria in French, performed with accompaniment and in front of three judges.

“I felt that I was prepared really well. Here at Lipscomb, they have a small program, so I have a lot of personalized attention from my teachers like Jean Miller,” Bennett said. “I am able to get a lot of personalized one-on-one guidance from professors.”

Although Bennett did not advance to the final round, he came away from the competition with experience and a wider breadth of knowledge about the vocal performance field.

“The best part of the whole experience was attending the competition itself,” Bennett said. “Hearing about new ideas coming out in the performing field from experts in the field was eye-opening for me.”

Wilson and Miller were able to attend the conference with Bennett.

“Ethan is the first vocal student during my eight years at Lipscomb to compete on the national level,” Wilson said. “It was exciting to see him perform. I think it validates the work that the vocal faculty is doing with our students.”