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Cassie Murray wins 'Singer of the Year'

March 8, 2010

Vocal music majors at Colorado State University received a variety of awards, including the coveted "Singer of the Year," at the annual competition that took place on Saturday, Feb. 13, in the Organ Recital Hall at the University Center for the Arts.

Singer of the Year, Cassie Murray

Students win variety of awards

At the Singer of the Year Competition, undergraduate voice students compete for awards, scholarships, as well as special distinctions. At the 2010 installment of the annual competition the following awards were given:

  • Singer of the Year: Cassie Murray, sophomore
  • Opera Achievement Awards: Chaazi Munyanya, junior; Andrew Diessner, senior
  • Opera Pronto Undergraduate Award: Josh Ooms, freshman
  • Encouragement Awards: Alexandra Diessner, senior; David Dimmen, junior; Kawika Berthelette, junior
  • Most Improved: Cammie Kolber, junior

Guest clinician Bradley Thompson joined CSU voice faculty to judge the final round, as well as coach the seven finalists on performance and technique.

Singer of the Year, Cassie Murray, performed I Cannot Tell What This Love May Be from the Gilbert & Sullivan opera Patience, and the English art song, Sweet Chance, That Led My Steps Abroad by Michael Head.

The competition, featuring more than 30 singers competing for vocal scholarships ranging in amounts from $1,000 to $5,000 for Academic Year 2010–2011, displays a high-level range of vocal development evident in the performances, as the spirit of competition brings out the best singing, yet maintains atmosphere of support and encouragement.

Meet Cassie Murray

For Cassie Murray, preparation for the Singer of the Year competition came in the form of consistent practice for voice lessons, choir, and opera.

“I try not to put too much emphasis on any one upcoming event because it gives me tunnel vision,” said Murray. “My goal as a singer is to grow, not to win any one award or to be cast in any one show. This competition has served as one of many reminders that there is no such thing as finished.”

Murray’s weekly lessons with voice instructor Tiffany Blake provide direction and motivation.

“Dr. Blake is a brilliant teacher and performer, and I owe so much to her influence,” said Murray. “After every lesson I leave newly inspired to sing each week.

A boost of confidence

The impact of the competition has been a boost of confidence to the young singer, but with the spring opera and several major Chamber Choir events on the calendar, there hasn’t been a moment to relax and enjoy the award. But Murray jokes that she wouldn’t want it any other way.

“If I may borrow from Thomas Carlyle, ‘I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom,’” she said.

The music education major plans to pursue a graduate degree in vocal performance, followed by a performing career. Further down the road she would also like to be a teacher working in an inner city middle school in her hometown, Washington D.C., or another large metropolitan area.

“I couldn’t imagine my life without music, and I would be doing myself a disservice not to pursue this dream,” she said.

Contact: Jennifer Clary
Phone: (970) 491-3603