Alltech awards more than half-a-million dollars in opera scholarships

Thomas Gunther, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, was the graduate winner of the 2012 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition at the University of Kentucky March 4, 2012. Photos by Tim Collins.

Alltech gave more than half-a-million dollars in scholarships to potential students in the University of Kentucky’s voice program on Sunday in the seventh annual Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition.

The competition is sort of like if prospective UK basketball players came to campus and engaged in a public competition for spots on the team. Prospective UK opera students sang for a panel of judges and an opera-loving audience in the Singletary Center for the Arts concert hall, the top winners in the graduate and undergraduate divisions collecting full-ride scholarships and cash stipends, contingent on their attending the University of Kentucky.

In something of a transitional year for UK Opera, the competition is bringing some new faces to campus such as graduate winner Thomas Gunther who hails from the highly regarded University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He earned a full ride, $12,000 and a graduate assistantship. The second place winner was Kathrin M. Thawley from Salisbury University in Maryland who won a full scholarship, $8,000 and a graduate assistantship. Rounding out the graduate division was Andrea Pearson of Oberlin Conservatory, who won $5,000.

Catherine Wright of Lexington was the undergraduate winner.

In the undergraduate division, the winner was Catherine Wright of Lexington Catholic High School who won $6,000 and a tuition waiver. Second place Alyssa- Marie Detterich of Orange County High School of the Arts, Santa Ana, Calif., won $3,000 and a tuition waiver, and third place winner Austin Vitaliano of Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Ill., won $2,000.

Rounding out the winners list was a variety of awards:

Outstanding Transfer Award, $3,000 plus tuition waiver: Brittany Jones of Louisville’s Bellarmine University

Mr. William L. Rouse III “The Barbara Rouse Kentucky Prize,” for a student born or educated in Kentucky, $5,000 – Hyeonjeong Kim

The Gail Robinson Musicianship Award, $2,000 – Whitney Myers

Undergraduate Enthusiasm Award, $1,000 – Tanner Hoertz

Undergraduate Musicianship Award, $1,000 – Tomer Eres

Graduate Musicianship Award, $1,000- Wanessa Rodrigues

Undergraduate Encouragement Award, $1,000 – Laura Powell

Graduate Encouragement Award, $1,000 – Aline Araújo

Transfer Student Encouragement Award, $1,000 – Marvin Myer McCoy of Bowie State University, Bowie, Md.

If history holds true to form, these are likely to be names we will see in upcoming University of Kentucky Opera Theatre productions. Previous Alltech scholarship winners include Julie LaDouceur, who emceed the competition, Reginald Smith Jr. and Amanda Balltrip.

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