Stark wins NATS national musical theatre competition
calendar icon14 Jul 2022
Lincoln, Neb.--Maddy Stark, a senior voice major and musical theatre minor in the Glenn Korff School of Music from Omaha, Nebraska, won the National Association of Teachers of Singing’s upper level (college junior and senior treble voices) musical theatre category in the National Student Auditions.
Beginning among a record-setting 854 entries in this year’s national competition, Stark represented the West Central region of NATS as she advanced through six levels of competition to be named the winner. She was awarded a cash prize of $1,600.
“Maddy Stark is an exceptionally talented singer and actor,” said Alisa Belflower, her voice teacher who recently retired as Lecturer and Coordinator of Musical Theatre Studies in the Glenn Korff School of Music. “Winning this competition over a record number of national competitors is a clear indication of her bright future. Maddy told me she wanted to win this competition, and we set about accomplishing that goal together over the past year. Her hard work and attention to details paid off—literally and figuratively.”
Sebastaian Sorensen, a first-year master’s in vocal performance student, and Jill Stark, a sophomore voice major, both advanced through five levels of competition to be national semi-finalists and named in the top 14 students in the nation at their level of training.
“That a huge honor,” Belflower said. “They both also performed beautifully in Chicago, but the competition was fierce.”
Stark said she was “excited and flattered” to be chosen for first place, given the talent she was up against.
“Winning meant a lot to me for many reasons,” she said. “I have competed in NATS for over five years and had not gotten the chance to compete in person in the national round. I wanted to push myself to do the best performance I could and prove to myself that I could win. It also meant a lot to me to represent my voice teacher of four years now, Alisa Belflower, because I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without her, and I am the singer I am today because of her.”
A winner of multiple state, regional and national NATS awards in both classical and musical theatre, including being named 2020 Musical Theatre Singer of the Year in the West Central region, Stark is also a recipient of a Friends of Opera scholarship and the Don and Carol Burt scholarship for vocal excellence.
She recently appeared on stage as Ilona Ritter in the Glenn Korff School of Music production “She Loves Me” and was Papagena in UNL Opera’s production of “The Magic Flute.”
In the semi-final round, Stark prepared four pieces for a 12-minute time limit. She sang “Letter from a coloratura” by Will Reynolds; “The mist” from the musical “Dracula” by Frank Wildhorn; “Somebody, somewhere” from Frank Loesser’s musical “The Most Happy Fella” and “Love will come and find me again” from the musical “Bandstand” by Richard Oberacker and Thomas Taylor. In the final round, she had one song to perform and chose “Letter from a coloratura.”
Stark had the opportunity to meet many of the finalists and winners in her category and other categories.
“I thoroughly enjoyed watching the other students in the finals showcase and connecting with them,” she said.
Stark has one more year to finish up her vocal performance degree in the Glenn Korff School of Music.
“I plan to compete in the NATS student auditions again and other vocal competitions, “ she said. “I hope to be in some musical productions as well. I also look forward to figuring out my plans post-graduation.”