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.