College Audition Panel Discussion: Meet the Panel (Part 2)

(I couldn’t wait till Tuesday.)

As promised, it’s time to meet the musical theater teachers on our June 30 panel discussion who teach in musical theater programs.

Meet the Panel: Karla Hughes, Viterbo UniversityFirst up – Karla Hughes from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin (named one of the top 30 musical theater programs in the country).

Karla Hughes heads the Music Theatre voice area at Viterbo University where she instructs vocalists in a wide variety of genres including music theatre (legit and belt), classical, pop, rock, gospel, country, and R&B. In addition to her work as a voice instructor, she has also taught acting and stage movement courses and works as a music director. Former voice students have gone on to perform on Broadway (Six the Musical, Amélie, A Bronx Tale the Musical, Tina; The Tina Turner Musical), off-Broadway musicals, national and international tours, international cruise lines, regional and international theaters, voice overs for animated Disney films, and have been featured vocalists on national public radio (NPR) and television programs (ABC, NBC).

As a professional musician Karla has performed throughout the U.S. with opera, musical theater, and theater companies and is represented by Wade Artist Management (NYC). Hailed as displaying “vocal pyrotechnics” and “effortless dexterity” (Opera News), being “nimble of voice and feet” (The Toledo Blade), and “exceedingly convincing [as an actress]” (Opera News) she is equally talented as a vocalist, actress, and dancer. Highlights from Karla‘s performing career include Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Ellen in Lakmé, and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Michigan Opera Theater, Flora in Turn of the Screw with the Toledo Opera, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Dainty June in Gypsy, and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof with The Ohio Light Opera, and Sophie in Terrence McNally’s Master Class with Chamber Theater (Milwaukee).  In 2011, Karla made her Lincoln Center debut as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass, presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY). As a recording artist, she can be heard on over 15 different titles with Albany Records and Newport Classics including the roles of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance and Yum-Yum in The Mikado. Karla earned a Master of Music in Opera Performance at Wichita State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Colorado State University.

We’re also honored to have Matt Edwards join us from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA.Meet the Panel: Matt Edwards, Shenandoah Conservatory

Matt Edwards is one of the leading voice teachers for commercial and musical theatre styles in the United States. He is currently an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Musical Theatre Voice at Shenandoah Conservatory. He is also Artistic Director of the Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Institute. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Van Lawrence Fellowship and in 2018 he was a master teacher for the NATS Intern program.

Edwards’ vocal interests encompass many styles. He has performed numerous roles in plays, musicals, and operas. Former and current students have performed on American Idol, Broadway, off-Broadway, on national and international tours, and in bands touring throughout the United States. He has written numerous articles for the Journal of Singing, Journal of Voice, VoicePrints, American Music Teacher, The Voice, Southern Theatre, and Voice Council magazine. He has contributed chapters to “A Dictionary for the Modern Singer,” “Vocal Athlete,” “Manual of Singing Voice Rehabilitation,” “Get the Callback,” “The Voice Teacher’s Cookbook,” and the CCM, Sacred Music, Gospel, A Cappella, and Country editions of the “So You Want to Sing” book series. His book “So You Want to Sing Rock ‘N’ Roll?” is published by Rowman and Littlefield and was called “an authoritative text on rock ‘n’ roll singing” by Classical Singer magazine.

He has presented at the National Association of Teachers of Singing National Conference, Voice Foundation Annual Symposium, Acoustical Society of America, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Musical Theatre Educators Alliance, Pan-American Vocology Association, at numerous universities including Penn State, Florida State, University of Toronto, Brigham Young, Wright State, Otterbein, Illinois Wesleyan, Missouri State, University of Northern Colorado, Bårdar Academy (Oslo, Norway), NATS Chapters in Toronto, Virginia, Oregon, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Arizona, and many others.

Online at CCMInstitute.com and EdwardsVoice.com.

This is not to be missed.

I have worked closely with both of these artists, with Karla at the Skylight in Viva La Mamma and with Matt at Shenandoah Conservatory in a training program. Karla has taught several of my Milwaukee studio alums, and her students routinely win at Wisconsin NATS auditions. Matt is well-regarded internationally as well as nationally, as you can see if you search his name in Google.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series, in which I will introduce you to the three students who successfully navigated the 2020-2021 audition process (and lived to tell the tale), and who will be attending college in Fall 2021. 

To reserve your spot for the June 30 panel discussion, What To Know and What I Wish I Had Known About College Auditions, register HERE.



Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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