On Jan. 3 four gifted vocal students in SUU's Department of Music took a second place victory in a competition sponsored by the National Opera Association at the organization's annual conference in Portland, Oregon. Alex Byers, Taliah Byers, Shaye Leavitt and Christina Meikle, accompanied by Sasha Bainson on the piano, impressed the panel of judges in the final round of the competition with their 10-minute scene from Gian Carlo Menotti's chamber opera "The Old Maid and the Thief. "
The opera was originally performed by SUU Opera in spring 2012. For the undergraduate division, the first round was a DVD submission of a 10-minute scene which was adjudicated by a separate panel of judges in fall 2012. After reviewing all 27 submissions, the SUU Opera scene was selected as one of the five scenes to be performed live in the conference competition.Professor Carol Ann Modesitt, SUU Director of Opera and Voice, said in a press release: "All of the other universities in the final round have considerably more students enrolled than Southern Utah University. Their enrollments ranged from 11,000 to 31,000 students. Two of the universities have Schools of Music instead of smaller Departments of Music. One of our students who competed told me that he felt that this competition was an excellent indication of the training and expertise of the faculty in the SUU Music Department. I am so proud of our students. They sang beautifully and represented SUU's mission, vision, and its commitment to excellence. The music department and the student senate provided monetary support to the students. This support is so vital in getting the university and its music department better known throughout the region and the nation."