On Saturday, April 16, the week-long Bach Festival came to an end with performances by the winners of the annual Kalamazoo Bach Festival Young Vocalists Competition in the Recital Hall of the Light Fine Art Center.
The vocalists came from both high school and college. The winners of the high school division competed with other vocalists from high schools all around Michigan, while the winners of the college division competed with college students from both Michigan and Indiana.
The winning vocalists who performed at the Young Vocalists Concert were: Cassandra Thompson (soprano, 2nd place high school division), Alex Smith (baritone, first place high school division), Cara Gross (soprano, Honorable Mention, College Division), Caitlin Borke (mezzo-soprano, Honorable Mention College Division), Hayley Girard (soprano, 3rd Place, College Division), Isaac James (baritone, 2nd Place College Division), and the winner of the College Division and main prize Rebecca Myers (mezzo-soprano).
“[All of the performers] were really fantastic,” said Max Palese ’19. “All of them sounded really professional and put themselves into their songs. I wish I could do what they did.”
Rebecca Myers, a junior at Eastern Michigan University, said,“[Performing in the Bach Festival has been] really great. I love this [Recital] Hall. The sound flows really nicely in there. And it’s just been a great reception. We really got a lot of good support and feedback from the competition to then bring that and work on with our own professors for us to do it all over again– make some improvements.
Each of the vocalists sang two pieces. One of the pieces was in a foreign language and one was in English.
The pieces were art songs that the vocalist performed with a pianist. The songs came from a wide array of sources, including arias from some opera, musical theater, and some regular art songs.
“This past summer, I went to a summer program up in Boyne City, and the two of the pieces that I did are the ones that I had brought to that camp. So, I got really close to them, and they became pretty near and dear to my heart. I try to perform them as often as possible,” said Rebecca Myers about her selection of the pieces.