Updates from the Brenau University Department of Music

Haley Rosales and Sarah Delay singing
Haley Rosales and Sarah Delay with the Vocal Chamber Ensemble

The spring semester closed on a joyful note with And Nature Smiled, a concert featuring Brenau’s Spectrum Singers and Vocal Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Ashley Conway, WC ’08, and Cherokee Bluff High School’s Bella Voce and Mixed Chorus under the direction of Jenna Coon, WC ’11.

Community members, Brenau faculty and staff, and students all joined to welcome many to a live music performance. 

The Vocal Chamber Ensemble offered its own stirring concert, Daggers and Tears, given on the Ides of March. Fresh from their performance at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference, these students sang music including compositions of Houston Bright and David Childs. 

Believe For It, an evening of music performed by the Brenau Gospel Choir under the direction of Portia Burns, brought a serenity to the mystery of being together again for live performances. As voices floated out in Pearce with inspiration, a small instrumental ensemble of keyboard, guitars and drum set accompanied the choir in rhythm and harmony.

Ben Leaptrott, professor of piano, is the vice president and a founding member of the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Board of Directors. Their mission is to help aspiring opera singers on the national stage. A major component of the foundation’s work is the Annual Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. The 2022 competition, held in New York City in May, featured 93 singers and 12 were selected as finalists. First prize was $15,000. Second prize, $10,000, and third prize was $7,500. An Encouragement award was $3,000. Each finalist receives $750. Winners of the competition are able to use the prize money to help further their careers. 

In June, rising senior Lainie Ewers attended the Vienna Summer Music Festival, held in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she won a scholarship to study voice and operatic repertoire. She covered the role of Zerlina, from Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni; and performed in Michael J. Polo’s contemporary opera, Pluto.