The University of Texas at Tyler is among collegiate teams to compete in the National Opera Association’s Scenes Competition, Dr. Michael Thrasher, UT Tyler School of Performing Arts director, announced.

This is UT Tyler’s first appearance in the final round of the competition, which will be held Jan. 8 during the NOA Annual Convention in Greensboro, N.C.

UT Tyler student finalists are soprano Kelsey Pate and tenor Jay Williams, both of Tyler, mezzo-soprano Janis Newman, of Athens, and soprano Lauren Cook, of San Antonio. Dr. Sooah Park, UT Tyler assistant professor of music, serves as program coordinator.

“We are very proud of our vocal music students and this prestigious honor they have received,” Thrasher said. “Dr. Park is doing outstanding work with our student opera program, and this is confirmation of the program’s quality. We wish them the best in the final round of competition.”

Competing in the graduate-level division, the students will perform Scene 10 and 11 from “The Old Maid and the Thief” by Gian Carlo Menotti. Other competitors this year are teams from University of Nevada — Las Vegas, Wichita State University and Georgia State University.

To qualify for the competition, Park submitted an application and a six-minute Youtube video of the UT Tyler School of Performing Arts’ spring 2014 performance of the production. UT Tyler was selected to advance from 12 contending teams.

Scenes will be judged on musical style and accuracy, diction, vocal quality, basic stagecraft, individual characterization and ensemble interaction, as well as creative use of the set, props and costumes. First and second place prizes will be awarded.

For additional information, contact Park at 903-566-7088 or

The UT Tyler School of Performing Arts houses opera and musical theater programming.

UT Tyler staged productions are generally open to students of any major, based upon audition. Recent staged and semi-staged productions have included “The Old Maid and the Thief,” “Little Women,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Carousel,” “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Le Nozze di Figaro” “The Magic Flute” and “Hansel and Gretel.”

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