| Black Hills State University students Kirk Hauck, music and psychology major from Spearfish, and Megan Allen, vocal music education major from Rapid City, placed in the recent South Dakota National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition.
Two Black Hills State University music students placed in the recent South Dakota National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition (SD NATS) including Kirk Hauck, music and psychology major from Spearfish, who earned first in two categories.
“We have never had a student win two categories before,” according to Nancy Roberts, BHSU associate professor of music. Hauck placed first in the junior men’s division and the musical theatre men’s division. Megan Allen, vocal music education major from Rapid City, placed fourth in the freshmen women’s division
More than 100 students from six universities competed in the annual competition held in Vermillion this year. BHSU had 13 student singers compete.
“All of the students sang really well and the preparation level was the highest in my teaching career,” Roberts said. Roberts along with Charles Canaan, BHSU music professor, work with the students weekly throughout their years at BHSU as their vocal coaches.
Hauck, who placed second in the sophomore men’s division last year, performed a total of five pieces for the competition - three art songs for the junior men’s division and two musical theatre pieces and an art song.
“I was stunned for both of them,” Hauck said. “Performing with such stiff competition was a rush I had never experienced before, and I loved it. You really don’t have a choice but to give it all you’ve got in those types of situations.”
“When they announced I had taken first, I didn't believe it. The other musical theatre performers not only sang very well, but they could also dance which is something I have never learned to do. Honestly, it was one of the proudest, most exhilarating, and most fun moments of my life,” Hauck said.
During the finals round, he sang "Non più andrai" from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro for junior men's, and "Heil Myself" from Mel Brooks' The Producers for men's musical theater.
Allen sang Caro Mio Ben by Giuseppe Giordani for her finals piece. “My first reaction was surprise,” Allen said of her fourth place finish in the freshmen women’s division.” I knew it was a possibility, but I didn’t actually believe it would happen to me my first year taking voice lessons.”
Hauck said much of his success can be attributed to the BHSU music faculty, especially Roberts. “I started singing with her when I was 16, and she has helped me craft my voice into what it is today.” And while he says it is fun to win, his ultimate goal in competing is to do his best and convey the meaning of each piece to the audience. “Music is a language all its own, and I believe it can communication what words alone never will.”