Donald W. Wood, Sr Vocal Competition

Winners of the 2019 Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition:

FIRST PLACE FEMALE WINNER: JULIA ERNST, Senior, Archbishop Hannan High School, Covington, Louisiana, Instructor: Dr. Maryanne Kyle

FIRST PLACE MALE WINNER: SEBASTIEN SHAYS, Senior, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructors: Dr. Beth Rota and Dr. William Mouat

SECOND PLACE FEMALE WINNER: LAUREN ALBANO, Junior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

SECOND PLACE MALE WINNER: KADIN GAUBERT, Senior, Hahnville High School, Boutte, Louisiana, Instructor: Craig Matherne

Honorable Mentions

ABIGAIL ROQUES, Senior, Pensacola Christian Academy, Slidell, Louisiana; Instructor: Joy Greene Meade

A’FARRAH WALLACE; Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

SARAH SCHEXNAYDER, Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle



About the Competition

The Wood Competition is in its fifth year as a significant young artist entry vehicle into the professional realm of singing.  Past participants have enjoyed regional, national and international celebrity as young artist professionals. The competition is a collaborative effort between the New Orleans Opera Association, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Tulane University, and Loyola University New Orleans.

All local and regional voice teachers are invited to enter their students for this contest, and the deadline for 2020 will be announced in the summer of 2020.  From the pool of applicants, a selection of approximately 25 high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be chosen by the New Orleans Opera Association to sing in the competition.  Two first-place winners (male and female) will be awarded $1,000 each; two second-place winners (male and female) will receive $500 each. Please download the informational flier and competition application to share with others.

Created by New Orleans Opera board member, Debby Hirsch Wood in honor of her late husband Donald W. Wood Sr., the Wood family has granted funding for the competition to continue in perpetuity in his name. Donald Wood Sr. loved opera and was supportive of NOOA’s educational endeavors.

The 2019-2020 student vocalists selected to compete in the Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition are as follows:

Nadia Abboud-Joffe (f); Sophomore, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Dr. Beth Rota

Lauren Albano (f); Junior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Kieva Banks (f); Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Dallas Blackmore (m); Junior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Brooklyn Burt (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Julia Ernst (f); Senior, Archbishop Hannan High School, Covington, Louisiana, Instructor: Dr. Maryanne Kyle

Kadin Gaubert (m); Senior, Hahnville High School, Boutte, Louisiana, Instructor: Craig Matherne

Elijah Geeting (m); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Henry Hebert (m); Sophomore, Holy Cross High School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Meredith Hotard

Emily Jones (f); Junior, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Metairie, Louisiana, Instructor: Megan Dearie

Lukas Kolb (m); Senior, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Dr. Beth Rota

Jezuete Lafuente (m); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Sophia Lucurto (f); Sophomore, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Maddy Manning (f); Sophomore, Stanford Online High School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Instructor: Patricia O’Neill

Joy Menzies (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

David Meyer (m); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Arwen Morley-Zender (f), Junior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Emma Navarro (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Rayna Oggs (f); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Abigail Roques (f); Senior, Pensacola Christian Academy, Slidell, Louisiana; Instructor: Joy Greene Meade

Sarah Schexnayder (f); Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Sebastien Shays (m); Senior, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructors: Dr. Beth Rota and Dr. William Mouat

Kate Tomeny (f); Sophomore, Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Megan Dearie

Olivia Tuck (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

A’farrah Wallace (f); Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

THANK YOU TO THE 2019-2020 WOOD COMPETITION PATRONS

  • Arthur A. Crais, Jr.
  • Peter R. Brigandi, Jr.
  • Nina and Larry Pugh
  • Susan and Vern Raburn
  • The National Philanthropic Trust
  • Drs. Theresa and Rand Voorhies
  • The Donald W. Wood Sr. Family

ABOUT THE WOOD COMPETITION JUDGES

LURETTA BYBEE, B.M., Baylor University, Associate Professor of Voice, Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Media. Ms. Bybee has been privileged to serve on the faculties of the University of Michigan, Aspen Music Festival, and has served as both Chair of Opera Studies and Chair of Vocal Arts at the New England Conservatory of Music.  She continues to teach voice at New England Conservatory. Ms. Bybee has served several times as judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, along with many other vocal competitions. She has sung with numerous opera companies and orchestras in the United States and abroad. She is particularly known for her Carmen, having sung the Bizet heroine throughout the United States and Europe.

LORAINE SIMS,  Associate Professor and Vocal Studies Division Chair at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Edith Killgore Kirkpatrick Professor of Voice, Louisiana State University, past Southern Regional Governor of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and is also a member of the National Opera Association and Music Teachers National Association. Ms. Sims has achieved critical-acclaim for her “vibrant, bell-like soprano” as well as her “warm intimacy, engaging passion and casual artistry.” She is an active recitalist whose voice has been described as “remarkably versatile, ranging from delicate lyricism to dramatic power” and her repertoire includes a broad spectrum of songs and arias from the Baroque through Contemporary periods as well as a variety of selections from the American Musical Theater tradition.

C. LEONARD RAYBON, D.M.A., Louisiana State University, M.A. University of York, Associate Professor of Music; Choir Director, Voice, The Virginia Beer Professor of Music Tulane University, School of Liberal Arts/Newcomb Department of Music. After earning a bachelor’s degree from William Carey College in music education, he won a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellowship to study in York, England, where he earned his master’s degree in music. His doctorate, from Louisiana State University, is in choral conducting with a minor in vocal performance. He has been on the faculty of Tulane for thirteen years. He has presented papers in Honolulu, Hawaii, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and has had an article on Bach’s “Jesu, meine Freude” published in The American Organist. In 2009 he was invited as guest conductor in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Raybon has won two Big Easy Awards for his musical direction in Pirates of Penzance and Man of La Mancha at Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University School of Liberal Arts. He was recently a featured soloist and chorister in Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine at the Marigny Opera House in New Orleans.

ABOUT THE WOOD COMPETITION PRELIMINARY JUDGES

Three Preliminary Judges listened to the audio submissions and picked the students chosen to compete in today’s Wood Competition. We had many more applications but only 24 were chosen to compete. The Preliminary Judges are:

IVAN GRIFFIN – Voice Instructor, Loyola University New Orleans

Read more at:  https://www.ivangriffinsings.com and http://cmm.loyno.edu/music/bio/ivan-griffin

CAROL RAUSCH – Chorus Master at the New Orleans Opera Association and Director of Opera Theatre at Loyola University New Orleans.

Read more at: http://cmm.loyno.edu/music/bio/carol-rausch

DR. BETSY USCHKRAT – Musical Theatre Voice Instructor, Loyola University New Orleans Read more at http://cmm.loyno.edu/theatre/bio/betsy-uschkrat

Previous Winners

View the list of the competition winners by year here.

Student Night Out

Carmen – Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Joan of Arc – Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird – Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at The New Orleans Jazz Market

The Magic Flute – Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 p.m. at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Through the generous support of our sponsors, we are able to provide FREE tickets to our fully staged dress rehearsals to regional students! Please fill out this form to request Student Night Out tickets for your school group or community-based organization. We are able to provide one (1) free chaperone ticket for every five (5) students who are confirmed to attend.

Please note:

  • Our Preview Performances are funded in part by foundation and corporate grants, many of which stipulate certain criteria when they are awarded. One of the primary stipulations is that the funds be applied to the cost of providing students with an opera experience. Therefore, we maximize the number of students attending these performances.
  • We kindly ask you to limit the number of adults in your group to one adult per 5 children. You will note that the tickets contain a barcode so that we may monitor this information. Adults will be admitted only if they have a SPECIFIC STUDENT NIGHT OUT ticket. If your student participation is less than you anticipated, then your chaperone number should decrease, as well.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL IN YOUR ORDER. Use this form to order tickets/make changes, etc.

2019 – 2020 Opéra Nouvelle Schedule

September 6, 2019-–7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Carmen and Late 19th Century French Opera: Friday Nights at NOMA!

October 20, 2019 —3:00 p.m. Sculpture Gardens Mixed-Media Concert at NOMA.

January 16, 2020—6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Joan of Arc, Une femme pour les âges: Ogden Museum After Hours!

March 1, 2020—7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Opera Americana and Music to Lift the Spirit: Temple Sinai!

April 7, 2020—7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Star-Blazing Queen, The Magic Flute and Hubble Telescope Images: SECOND ANNUAL Deutsches Haus Kulturabend!

April 18, 2020 — 3:00 p.m.Characters from The Magic Flute at NOMA’s Sculpture Garden

Innovative Connections in 2019-2020 include the literary figure of Carmen, along with the historical figure of Joan of Arc that allows our audiences to witness two women of power. Carmen – originally a creation by Prosper Merimée – is a freedom-loving gypsy who follows her true nature even unto death, as does the real-life Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake for her leadership and her convictions.  The Temple Sinai concert will feature predominant American composers of opera who were (and are) influenced by jazz and musical theatre legends like Charlie Parker, whose life will be the centerpiece of our early April 2020 opera, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. Our final offering will be a continuation of the celebration of Austrian composer Mozart and Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) with stunning visual images from the Hubble Telescope in a spectacular feast for the senses!

Guest Speakers and Artists

Join our roster of guest speakers, musicians, and singers, each with a unique perspective on the upcoming operas!

For More Information, Contact:

William Manning Mouat

Director of Education

Phone: 504.267.9535

E-mail: Education@neworleansopera.org

School Performances

We offer a variety of performances for your school or educational center and can create custom performances and programming as needed.

September through May – bookings dependent on artists’ availability

A CELEBRATION IN SONG

Opéra Creole Artistic Director Givonna Joseph’s engaging program for grades PK through 12 is designed for piano and voice.  A solo performer will explore a kaleidoscope of African and African-American songs, storytelling, poetry, and spirituals. The program also includes selections from both the Broadway stage and opera. This program is also suitable for adult audiences.

GOALS: A Celebration in Song exposes children and adults to the rich cultural heritage and music of New Orleans and beyond.  It is typically presented as a supplement to the black history month curriculum content for elementary and secondary students.

Hansel and Gretel – Grades Pre-K – 5 & Family groups

Our delightful adaptation of this classic favorite for grades PK – 5 introduced thousands of children to opera and continues to enchant new audiences. The fully staged and costumed reenactment of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale is a perennial favorite.

GOALS: This 50 minute piece is adapted from the Engelbert Humperdinck opera of the same title, and artists are available for a live question and answer session immediately following the performance.  The opera parallels the storyline of the original folk story, which serves an important literacy connection for the targeted grades.

Little Red Riding Hood – Grades Pre-K – 6/Family groups

This fully-staged and costumed touring opera, is designed for grades PK- 6 schoolchildren and also contains humor that parents and teachers will appreciate. The Wolf, the Woodsman, Mother and Grandmother are hilarious re-creations of the classic storybook characters. The title character is wise beyond her years and has a LOT of surprises in store for the not-so-wily wolf.

GOALS: This 44 minute piece was composed for elementary students and artists are available for a live question and answer session immediately following the performance.  The “safety first” aspect of the storyline, which emphasizes that children should not speak to strangers, is instructive and valuable – especially for younger elementary grades – yet it does not detract from the comedy and musical variety!

School Programming

We offer a variety of educational programs for your school or learning center and create custom curriculum as needed and programs are available for booking from September through May.

BUILD AN OPERA

We offer students in middle and high school the opportunity to build operas from traditional or original storylines. These are based upon original plays that are written and performed by students or other dramatic or popular literature. The sky is the limit! This program is most suitable for grades 6-12.

GOALS: Build An Opera gives students the opportunity to add musical subtext and original melodies to pre-prepared theatrical presentations.  Students acquire confidence in public speaking, as they enhance and augment their performance capabilities.

HIP-HOPERA

We give students in grades 3 through 5 the opportunity to add poetry-slam components and hip-hop moves to operatic and musical theater works. Hip-Hopera is a process-oriented class that combines song, story and choreography; thus sessions typically range from three to five weeks. The program includes a performance component at the end of the workshops, and the performance will be presented for peers, parents, teachers and administrators.

GOALS:  Within a contemporary and popular artistic medium, students gain social skills and performing confidence in music and dance.

WORLD OPERA!

Students in grades 4 through 6 are given the opportunity to prepare and perform opera and dance excerpts within specific multi-cultural situations and contexts.  Current programs include the Habanera for marimbas and voice as well as Caribbean music in modern jazz folk songs.

GOALS:  This program is based upon specialized curriculum designs in geography, social studies and histories of non-Western cultures. Musical and dance components with voices and indigenous instruments of the respective cultures comprise the culminating class exercise.

MASTERCLASSES

Advanced High School voice and choral students, grades 9-12 sing individual (solo) selections which are coached by our guest artists and staff.

GOALS:  Students explore the stylistic nuances and performance practices based upon pre-prepared vocal selections.  This is especially useful for students who are preparing selections for contests, collegiate auditions, recitals, opera or musical theater roles, or summer programs.

MUSICOLOGY

We offer musicology (music-history) master classes for high school students (grades 9-12) with a five day-seminar series.  Students gain a historical perspective to further their understanding of the opera they will attend for individual Student Night Out Performances. The cost for the five-day seminar is $250.00.

GOALS:  This program is specifically designed to create historical, cultural and musical context for Student Night Out performances. This allows the students who attend the performances to gain a comprehensive understanding of geopolitical and/or sociological events that occurred during the opera composer’s lifetime. We also explore specific musical genres and artistic trends that occurred during the time-frame of the opera.