Student Accomplishments


Building upon a tradition of excellence, Baylor voice students have had a highly successful past few years. Here are a few impressive accomplishments from our recent alumni:

  • Kiri Deonarine, soprano (BME '07) recently won 1st prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation's 2012 International Vocal Competition. She will make her debut as a principal artist with Santa Fe Opera during their 2012 summer festival signing the role of Fiakermilli in Arabella. Kiri was also named the first place winner of the 22nd Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition in March 2010. Kiri was a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions of 2008-9. Kiri began by winning the Tri-Cities region in January 2009. In 2009, Kiri was accepted into the Houston Grand Opera Studio Program, where she sang the role of Adina in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.
  • Heather Hawk, soprano (MM '07) won first place in the 24th Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition on March 10, 2012. Two of the past three winners of this competition are Baylor alumni. Heather is currently working on a DMA degree in voice from the University of North Texas, and she serves as a voice instructor at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX.
  • Rachel Copeland, soprano (BME '02,MM '04) won the San Diego District of the Metropolitan Opera National CouncilAuditions in the fall of 2008 and was a member of the San Diego Opera touring ensemble. Rachel has gone on to sing principal roles with Indianapolis Opera, San Diego Opera, and the Cleveland Opera Circle. She has completed the Doctor of Music degree at Indiana University and is currently a member of the voice faculty at Eastern Carolina University.
  • Mezzo-soprano Ellie Jarrett Shattles (BM '05, MM '09) and baritone David Pershall (BM '07), won their respective divisions in the Southwest Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in September 2007. In so doing, the pair advanced to the national semifinals where, in the spring of 2008, they also competed on the stage of the New York Metropolitan Opera. Ellie was accepted into San Francisco Opera's Merola program in 2009, where she performed the role of Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte. She performed the roles of Rosina in Rossini Il barbiere di Siviglia and "Woman in the Hat" in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles in Aspen Opera Theatre's 2010 season. Ellie was engaged as a young artist with Nashville Opera for their 2011 season where she performed the roles of Mercedes in Carmen and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro. She has been engaged as an apprentice

    artist at Santa Fe Opera for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

  • Tyson Miller, tenor, (BM '10) won third place and also received the encouragement award in the Southwest Division of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

  • Jonathan Cole, baritone, (BM '08) took first prize in the Vocal Division of the Crescendo Music Awards in 2008, as well as second place in the 2008 MTNA Young Artist Voice Competition. Jonathan has been accepted into Boston University's Opera Institute Program beginning in August 2010. He had also been engaged as a studio artist

    and an apprentice artist at Central City Opera in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

  • Soprano Joanie Brittingham (MM-Performance and Musicology '09) sang the role of Peep-Bo in The Mikado with Wichita Grand Opera in 2009, and sang Gianetta in L'elisir d'amore with Peach State Opera in 2011. In 2010 and 2011, Joanie performed several principal roles with Light Opera Oklahoma. She is currently a member of the voice and musicology faculties of the University of Mobile.


The accomplishments of these special students only begin to tell our story. In addition to these individual success stories, there is great depth in our student population. Each fall, voice students from universities in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico gather for the Texoma Regional Conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. As a part of this conference, college students participate in the Student Auditions, where each student singer competes with peers who have had the same amount of collegiate vocal training. For example, female students in their first year of vocal study compete with other female singers in their first year, male singers in their second year compete with other male singers in their second year, etc.

The field of singers is narrowed through this audition process to a group of five finalists in each of the 10 collegiate and graduate divisions. While this only represents a two-day snapshot each year of the college singers throughout the region, the results over several years indicate a clear trend. The students at Baylor stand apart from their peers.

Of a possible 684 named

collegiate divisional finalists at the Texoma Region NATS Student Auditions

from 2001 to present, Baylor has produced more NATS finalists than any

other university in our region.

Baylor University – 123 (17.9%)

University of North Texas – 73 (11.6%)

Stephen F. Austin University – 70 (10.2%)

Southern Methodist University – 57 (8.3%)

University of Texas-San Antonio – 48 (7.0%)

Texas State University - 47 (6.9%)

Oklahoma City University – 36 (5.6%)
Texas Christian University – 31

Texas Tech University – 27 (3.9%)
Sam Houston State University –

27 (3.9%)
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor – 19 (2.8%)
West Texas A&M University –

17 (2.5%)


Baylor alumni have not only been successful as students here, but have gone on to great success after their time in the School of Music. Here are some fine examples:

Graduate Studies

Here are some of the prestigious institutions that have accepted Baylor undergraduate and graduate students for further study:

Indiana University

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

University of Michigan

New York University

Boston University

Rice University

Arizona State University

University of Colorado-Boulder


Baylor students and alumni have been finalists or place winners in the following competitions:

Metropolitan Opera Grand Council Auditions: National, Regional and District levels

Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers (Houston Grand Opera)

Fort Worth Opera Guild's Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition

Corbett-Treigle Scholarship Competition

Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston Competition

Dallas Opera Guild Career Development Grant for Singers Competition

Orpheus National Voice Competition

Crescendo Music Awards

Texoma NATS "Singer of the Year"

National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards

Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Voice Competition

Lois Alba Vocal Competition

Conroe Young Texas Artist Competition

National Note d'Estate a Campolieto

Palm Beach Opera Competition

Training and Apprenticeship Programs

The following are some of the programs that have selected Baylor students and alumni:

Wolftrap Opera

Santa Fe Opera

Houston Grand Opera

San Francisco Opera-Merola Program

Chautauqua Opera

Central City Opera

Opera in the Ozarks

Nashville Opera

Brevard Music Center

Seagle Music Colony

Opera North

CoOPERAtive Program at Westminster Choir College


The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria

College Light Opera Company

Des Moines Metro Opera

Opera Theater of Aspen Music Festival

Tanglewood Music Center

University of Miami's Summer Program in Salzburg, Austria

Atlantic Coast Opera Festival

Virginia Opera Spectrum Resident Artist Program

Chicago Opera Ryan Center Program

Berkshire Opera Resident Artist Program

Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca

Natchez Opera Company

Professional Engagements

Baylor students and alumni have appeared as featured artists with the following professional organizations:

New York Metropolitan Opera

Chicago Lyric Opera

Houston Grand Opera

Santa Fe Opera

Seattle Opera

Los Angeles Opera

Cleveland Opera

Des Moines Metro Opera