Singers Audition for Top College Arts Programs

Most teenagers leave singing and acting to the celebrities, the glamorous people, the gifted divas. These complex arts are reserved for the one who can delicately hit high notes without shattering glass, who can portray facial emotion and not be told that they look constipated. But at this school, such talented actors and musicians do exist. And not only are they skilled enough to merit school-wide praise, but a handful of exceptional students are actually hoping to get into their dream universities by auditioning their way through the college applications.

Many colleges have special schools for the arts and open up opportunities for talented students to pursue a performing arts career.

Through auditions, students like seniors K.C. Mead, Gabrielle Guidi and Sheridan Elmer have already been accepted to the schools they want because of their arts backgrounds.

K.C. Mead
Senior K.C. Mead started training for his auditions in October. Along with an already vigorous Main Street schedule, K.C. teamed up with Debby Yowell, the piano accompanist of the Vocal Department, to compile a series of pieces in French, Italian, German and English.

He decided to audition for colleges in the hopes of finding a familiar comfort in music.

“I’ve sung my whole life, but in the past two years with the Main Street Singers my singing has strengthened,” K.C. said. “So I want[ed] to attend [the University of] Puget Sound because they have a group called ‘Adelphians,’ and it has music similar to Main Street’s and a community that resembles that of my church group.”

For his auditions, K.C. has sung memorized pieces live, sight-read a few lines of music smoothly and overall was “very successful” in his performances.

His talent and persistence have reaped great rewards. Not only has he been accepted to Puget Sound, where he’s “pretty sure” he’s going to go, K.C. has also received scholarships to Oregon University, University of Colorado at Boulder and entry into University of California, Santa Barbara’s School of Music.

“He has a really big heart for music,” Yowell said. “I think he finds so much happiness in his music that it spreads to everyone that’s around him.

Gabrielle Guidi
Senior Gabrielle Guidi auditioned for music programs at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music and an Francisco Conservatory of Music, some of the most prestigious for music in the nation. Of these, Gabrielle has already heard back from the San Francisco Conservatory and Indiana University.

Her decision to pursue a degree in vocal performance came after sophomore year, when she was inspired to turn singing into a career at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Vocal Program, which is also incredibly selected.

According to Gabrielle, her training for the auditions began on her first day in the school’s vocal programs. Having been a part of four f the top singing groups on campus (including Main Street Singers), she has participated actively and diligently in the school’s choral program, which she feels is “the finest performing arts program in the country.”

Gabrielle was actually invited to sing at many of the schools she auditioned because her singing talent is well-known, and already she has received “very positive feedback.”

As a result, she is enthusiastic and hopeful to follow her dream to sing.

“I hope I can have a career in vocal performance—it could look like many different things from opera to teaching, but it is an exciting dream,” Gabrielle said. “The competition for a place in these programs is very tough, so I hope I’m one of the lucky ones!”

Sheridan Elmer
Senior Sheridan Elmer has also chosen to use her artistic talent in musical theater as a pathway into college. She was first drawn to musical theater when her parents took her to see a live performance of the Phantom of the Opera. Since then, musical theater has become a cherished and unique part of her life.

“I just love singing and dancing,” Sheridan said. “It’s just a rush of joy to step onto the stage and tell a story to the audience.”

Voice teachers Bridgette Doss-Johnson, Mark Shaull and Debbi Yowell from the Choral Department, acting coach Barbara Baltz and musical theater director of Bellarmine College Prep Thomas Allessandri all helped her practice and prepare for her live auditions at the University of California, Los Angeles, Emerson College, Boston University and University of Arizona. Although auditions were extremely competitive, with up to 400 kids auditioning for only 15 available slots, her passion keeps her optimistic.

“It’s hard to say [if I got in or not], but I feel that I was strong and worked my hardest to show myself off,” Sheridan said. “I can’t imagine my life without theater. It’s  one love that lives on.”

Though auditioning for college is unorthodox, these seniors have already achieved impressive results by gaining entrance into arts programs, securing the path they want to walk as artistic talents in the future.