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Sophomore named CSU's "Singer of the Year"

February 28, 2014
By Carrie Care

Vanessa Doss came to CSU to study music therapy but has turned her talent for singing into a $5,000 scholarship.

Vanessa Doss was named CSU's singer of the year.Doss was the last one standing as the winner of the 10th Annual Singer of the Year scholarship competition that took place at the University Center for the Arts.

This popular annual competition features CSU’s finest undergraduate vocal students competing for awards and scholarships, including the $5,000 Singer of the Year scholarship.

Hailing from Greeley, Doss began singing in fourth grade choir and continued participation in music through middle and high school, though she had no formal training until college. Drawn to CSU by the sense of community at the school and in Fort Collins, however, she quickly began to stand out as an exceptional singer to teacher, Dr. John Seesholtz, who encouraged her to consider music performance.

Early hints of talent

“When I first began working with her a year and a half ago in the freshmen voice studio, I would periodically get glimpses of the beautiful voice that she has developed today,” he said. “She heard and felt them, too, and she chased them down in the practice room and in lessons. She was relentless in building her technique.”

“I had a lot of trust in Dr. J from the beginning,” Doss said. “CSU is great because you know everyone has your back, and that type of support is really valuable.”

Tough competition

Competing against friends and classmates, she admitted that nerves take their toll, especially in the first competition of its kind in which she’s performed.

“We were all in it together, though,” she said. “We all worked really hard.”

Watching the competition last year, Doss made up her mind a year ago that she would compete this year.

“I talked about it with Dr. J and we decided on my pieces pretty early on,” she said. “But then we found another piece that was better about two weeks before the competition, so we switched.”

Most improved, too

Competing through two rounds and against five finalists, Doss performed Enrique Granados’ “Elegia eternal” and Ricky Ian Gordon’s “In Time of Silver Rain” for the competition and also received an award as Most Improved Singer.

“CSU offers so many different performing opportunities that really get you ready to enter the professional world,” said Vanessa. “And winning this competition really gives me the confidence that changing to performance was the right decision and makes me feel like I can do more in my career.”

Other winners

CSU also named Opera Award winners (Ryan McPeek, Marissa Rudd and Eric Botto) and the Ralph Opera Center Award winner (Justin Little).