Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 4, 2013

7 locals among opera competition finalists

TRAVERSE CITY – Five Traverse City high school vocalists and two Interlochen Academy students are among 10 finalists recently selected to sing next month in the Verdi’s Opera Theatre of Michigan’s “Concert of the Finalists.”

Local winners who will compete in the Verdi’s 19th Annual Italian Songs and Arias Vocal Competition are: Marin Tack and Kimberly DeBusschere from Traverse City Central High; West Senior High students Chiara Gerding, Elena Mosher, Rachel Shaughnessy; and Claudillea Holloway and Marina Kondo from the arts academy.

The winner of the May 5 "Concert of Finalists" in Livonia will take home a $1,000 prize.

“Traverse City is always well-represented in this competition,” said Jayne Sleder, a Traverse City opera singer who gives private voice lessons to four of this year’s local finalists.

Forty-eight contestants from across Michigan sent in required CD recordings of themselves singing two Italian classical songs or opera arias. Judges selected finalists from the recordings.

“It’s an important competition,” Sleder said. “It’s open to sophomores, juniors and seniors and gives them the real competition feel. They present themselves as they would in professional auditions and concerts.”

Sleder attributed Traverse City's annual good showing in the competition to school and community music programs and culture.

“We have a lot of fine voice teachers and really good chorale groups,” Sleder said. “Our music programs are as strong as our athletic programs. We have the City Opera House, the State Theatre Metropolitan Opera series, Interlochen, chamber music and many opportunities available.”

The Concert of Finalists will be held May 5 in Livonia at 4 p.m. Tickets are $7, $5 for senior citizens ad high school students. For more information, contact John Zaretti, president of the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan at or 734-552-4236.

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