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FGCU Vocalists Compete at the MTNA Young Artist Competition

Courtesy of Daniela Pepe

Three FGCU vocalists placed in the top three of Florida’s Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Competition. 

The event took place at the Bower School of Music from Nov. 11 through the 12. 

The competition is composed of instrumentalists and vocalists between 19 to 26-years-old. The various categories for this competition were piano, piano duet, string, woodwind, brass and voice. Teachers registered with the MTNA give their students the opportunity to perform and compete. 

Daniela Pepe, a senior majoring in Music Performance with a concentration in Voice, won first place. For her category, she only competed against the other FGCU students. 

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“The state levels tend to be very small,” Pepe said. 

Claudia Cespedes Calderon, a senior majoring in vocal performance, won second place. Third place was won by Victoria Hyman, a junior majoring in vocal performance.

The vocal section of this competition is held by the vocalist and a pianist doing a 30-minute performance.  

“You perform all your pieces that you prepare, and this competition is good for preparing for the next steps,” Calderon said. “Because mostly all of the people who want to follow this career as performer, they have to be used to doing these long things like half an hour or maybe one hour, so they have to be used to it.” 

The performances were judged by three judges from Florida’s MTNA. 

“One was from USF, one was from University of Alabama, Birmingham and then one was from U Tampa,” Pepe said. 

Each vocalist submits a list of songs that can be performed by the contestant. The first song is chosen by each contestant and the rest chosen by the judges.  

The first-place winner of the contest can compete in the National MTNA Young Artist Competition. Second and third place are alternates in case first place cannot make it to the competition. 

“It’s essentially a competition that works in three levels,” Pepe said. “There is the state competition, which is the one that I just competed in, and then regionals and finals. And it is a competition for instrumentalists and vocalists at different age levels. That allows us to go compete in front of some adjudicators receive feedback and hopefully place and move on to the next round.” 

 On Jan. 13, Pepe learned that she won the competition for the southern division. She will be competing in the MTNA National Finals Competition in Atlanta in March. 

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Duran Bush, Eagle Radio Station Manager
Duran Bush is a junior majoring in digital media design with a minor in journalism. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has lived all over the country because of his father's job in radio. Duran graduated from Florida SouthWestern State College with an Associate in the Arts degree in Communication and a certificate in Audio Visual Technology. His goal is to be in the entertainment industry doing freelance work for different companies. His hobbies include watching classic films, TV shows, and reading comic books.

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    Dr. Jeanie DarnellJan 28, 2024 at 10:59 am

    Jade Rojas, Freshman Vocal Performance Major at the Bower School of Music and the Arts at FGCU, is the Florida State Representative who won the Southern Regional MTNA in Senior Voice Division, and will be competing in the Senior Voice Division Finals at the MTNA National Conference in March also. (Pepe is Young Artist Competition Southern Regional Winner in Voice—the older category.)