Black Hills State University will be sponsoring a Young Performers Competition through the Black Hills Summer Institute of the Arts. Classical students who study voice or instruments are encouraged to enter. Participants will be vying for cash prizes in two age categories: 9-14 and 15-20.

First place winners will perform at the Celebration of the Arts Gala on Saturday, June 14. Last year’s first place winners were pianist Gabriella Cuebas and tenor Ben Nelson. The competition will be held on Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. in Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall on the BHSU campus. Contestants will be judged on poise and stage presence, as well as musical ability. The public is welcome to attend the event; tickets are $5 per person.

In its tenth year, the Black Hills Summer Institute of the Arts offers professional level instruction to students who are working toward a career in music performance from June 14 to June 28. Young vocalists from all over the country are guided by instructors of national and international recognition. Aspiring opera singers are offered many unique learning opportunities that include workshops, lectures, master classes, and performances. The goal of this program is to show that talent can come from anywhere, not just in the big city or start a career in Europe, and early recognition and encouragement of talent is important for every young performer.

The Opera Theater Institute was the brainchild of Johanna Meier, who grew up in Spearfish and went on to become one of the premier Wagnerian sopranos of her era. Since her retirement from the international opera stage, it has been her dream to foster local talents and help prepare young vocalists for a rewarding career in opera. BHSU provides a wide array of unique and satisfying experiences for music students and music lovers of all ages throughout the regular school year, as well as the summer. This year’s Summer Opera theater institute will be followed by the Black Hills State Players in their summer musical theater season.

Application deadline for the Young Performer’s competition is June 10. For more information and application forms, please contact Shelby Cihak at shelbycihak@bhsu.edu or call 642-6133 anytime between 8am and 4pm Monday through Friday.

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