Four Hesston College voice students advanced to at the least the semifinal round of competition at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Vocal Competition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nov. 2 to 3. Nine students represented Hesston College during the weekend competition.
Sophomore Cameron Ponce of Elkhart, Ind., placed fifth in the Sophomore Men’s Classical Division – the highest finisher for Hesston during the weekend – and advanced to the semifinals of the Freshman-Sophomore Men’s Musical Theatre Division. Ponce was also selected to sing at a musical theatre master class before the full convention. At Hesston, Ponce is a two-year member of Bel Canto Singers and Concert Band, both under the direction of Bradley Kauffman, and has been a part of all of the college’s theatre performances under the direction of Laura Kraybill during the 2011-12 year and in the current year to date. He studies voice with Hesston music faculty member Matthew Schloneger.
Sophomore Deni Brummer of Hutchinson, Kan., advanced to the semifinal round in the Sophomore Women’s Classical Division. She is a member of Bel Canto Singers for the 2012-13 year, was a member of the Hesston College Chorale under the direction of Ken Rodgers during the 2011-12 year and has participated in theatre performances. She studies voice with Holly Swartzendruber.
Sophomore Broxton Busenitz of North Newton, Kan., advanced to the semifinal round in the Freshman-Sophomore Men’s Musical Theatre Division. Busenitz is a two-year member of Bel Canto Singers and studies voice with Schloneger.
Freshman Josh Booth of Newton, Kan., advanced to the semifinal round in the Freshman Men’s Classical Division. He is a member of Bel Canto Singers and studies voice with Schloneger.
Other students competing from Hesston were sophomores Emerencia Dudas of Walbridge, Ohio, Bonita Garber of Bainbridge, Pa., Alisa Murray of Orrville, Ohio, freshman Rebecca Eichelberger of Geneva, Neb., and third-year student Kaedi LeFevre of Hesston, Kan.
The NATS Vocal Competition pits students against one another based on their age level and gender. About 450 students competed throughout the weekend, representing regional colleges and universities of all sizes from Division I to two-year colleges comparable in size to Hesston from Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming.
“I was pleased at how well our students competed against voice majors from some of the top programs in the region,” said Schloneger.