Success Stories

Vocalist earns national award

Caitlin Cusack’s vocal talents earned her national recognition in the Young Arts Competition, supported by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. The freshman from Ionia, Michigan, placed in the top 3 percent in the country while being awarded an Honorable Mention, alumni status and $250. She was one of only seven sopranos chosen as a finalist this year.

To apply, students must be under 18 years old and sing five, memorized pieces with specific requirements pertaining to the language and time period of the piece. Cusack worked with Dale Schriemer, associate professor of voice, for more than a month to perfect her performance.

“Caitlin is an extraordinary student in many ways,” said Schriemer. She entered this competition completely on her own, and saw it through to the end. She yearns to explore and be a contributor to the world.”

Cusack knew the judges would be looking for the whole package — including technique and passion. “I worked on finding a way to personally connect to each song and convey real emotions to the audience,” she said. “I was nervous about how I would fare against other sopranos my age from all across the country, but I was confident because of all the hard work I’d done with professor Schriemer.”  After two months of waiting for her results, a notification letter arrived in the mail. “I was so excited and nervous that I had to wait a few minutes to calm down before I opened it.”

As an Honors College student, Cusack is majoring in music education with a vocal emphasis. Following graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to continue her studies in music or voice. “I’m encouraged by what I’ve accomplished and am excited to see what the future has in store for me.”


by Kevin Virant

This story was filed with the tags: Arts, Awards, Music, National Recognition, Undergraduate Student