Ichabods In Depth

Published Nov. 15, 2012

Washburn vocal performance student wins major regional contest

Brendan BoyleBrendan Boyle, a junior in the Washburn department of music’s vocal performance program, won the junior men’s division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Conference competition earlier this month.

The region includes universities with much larger music programs, including University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Colorado, University of Wyoming, Kansas State, University of Kansas and Wichita State.

“It was great,” said Boyle, 21, who has placed in the competition before but never won. To win, he sang three prepared songs in one round and one of those in the two subsequent rounds of competition. The song, “Come Paride Vezzoso” is from the opera Elixir of Love. It is about a military officer who has just come into town and “is flaunting his awesomeness in from of all the ladies,” Boyle said. He performed in character during the contest.

Associate Professor Lee Snook, Boyle’s voice teacher at Washburn and independently since he was 16-years-old, said winning the competition will help him as he auditions for jobs in the future.

“It will get him listened to,” Snook said. With that win on his resume, “they’re going to assume the guy can sing.”

Of his student, Snook said the hardest thing is to get him to “back off. I want him to sing at 95 percent, not 150 percent.” That’s because as a 21-year-old, Boyle’s voice has at least nine years before it will reach full maturity. In order to make a career in opera, a singer must protect his instrument, Snook said. “I won’t let him sing like a 45-year-old operatic baritone.”

Boyle’s career goal is to sing professionally with an opera company. His dream job: “A contract with the Met.” New York City’s Metropolitan Opera is considered a preeminent opera company world-wide. Boyle said he plans to pursue a master’s degree before auditioning for permanent jobs.

Boyle, the son of Erin and Terry Boyle, is from Auburn, Kan.

In addition to Boyle winning the junior men’s competition, the following students advanced to the semi-final round of their division, which is listed along with their hometowns: Anna Tague, sophomore, Topeka; Phillip Watson, senior, Topeka; Zachary Cope, freshman, Topeka. The following students also participated in the competition: Quinton Church, freshman, Minneapolis, Kan.; Aaron Springer, senior, Berryton, Kan.; Rachel Cross, junior, Sliver Lake, Kan. and Tyler Woodworth, sophomore, Chapman, Kan.