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Performers reading for fourth annual Heafner-Williams Vocal Competion

(Editor’s note: Biographies on the first five vocalists who will be participating ran in Monday’s edition. The remaining five will appear in Friday’s edition.)

Interest continues building for this year’s Heafner-Williams Vocal Competition. Word has it that this weekend’s event, which runs Friday – Saturday, indicate it will be one of the best collection of talent thus far to have entered.
Listed below are four more talented vocalists:

Amanda Horton, a lyric coloratura, has garnered critical praise for her “golden, pure” singing and “spinning pianissimo high notes” as a “beautiful lyric soprano with sensitive acting and grace.” She recently made her professional debut in a leading role with Asheville Lyric Opera in Asheville, and returned to its stage for the lead role of in another production, this one under the direction of James Marvel and conducted by Timothy Myers.
Horton received her bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from Furman University, where she studied with Trudy Hines Fuller, and her master’s degree from Shenandoah Conservatory, under the instruction of Jackson Sheats.
She recently appeared in recital at the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and with the Charleston, S.C. Symphony Orchestra. She has toured as a member of the Asheville Lyric Opera Outreach Singers, and is a frequent recitalist in the Carolinas. She operates a private voice studio in Asheville, .

Mitchell Hutchings is a voice student of Dr. Robert Holquist at Western Carolina University. This 20-year-old junior has performed in opera as a chorus member in opera, and lead roles in musicals.
In addition to opera and musical theater, Mitchell has spent several summers with a local outdoor drama. He has been involved in multiple events under the direction of Dr. Z. Randal Stroope of the University of Nebraska at Omaha; Rebecca Cook-Carter; Dr. Thomas Jenrette of East Tennessee State University; Daniel Meyer with the Asheville Symphony; Dr. Bruce Frazier with Western Carolina University; Sue Delano in New York City; and Broadway director Bret Smock.

Erin Martin was born and raised in Newton, N.J., where she spent the majority of her life as a dancer. She grew up spending hours in the studio every day, which led to many local and national competitions. Most notably, she toured five cities as a VIP dancer for Art Stone’s Dance Olympus Company, at the age 16.
As a dance major at Elon University, she found that it wasn’t the dance she was passionate about, it was the music creating the dance. She then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she is a senior Vocal Performance Major.
She has appeared in the ensembles of several UNC-G Opera Theatre productions. Her career plans have made a drastic change, as she is in the process of applying to graduate schools for her new passion, opera.

Cheryse McLeod is a native of Greensboro who earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in Vocal Performance from Carnegie-Mellon University, her master of music degree in Vocal Performance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her professional artist certificate from the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
She recently debuted with Asheville Lyric Opera and South Carolina Opera to much critical acclaim. Upcoming opera engagements for include the Opera Company of North Carolina.
McLeod is no stranger to the concert stage, having appeared with the Greensboro Oratorio Society, the Lyceum Series, New Britain Symphony, and the North Carolina Symphony, among many others.
She received the second place Judith Bardi Rosenthal Award in the 50th annual Connecticut Opera Guild Scholarship Competition in 2004, as well as placed second n the 2001 Opera Guild of Charlotte Competition. She also was an Encouragement Award winner at the 2003 North Carolina District Met Auditions.
by Staff Reports

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