New scholarship opportunities were available for performing arts students this year in the form of a music competition. Ochsenhirt Productions, a UVU student-run business are the brains behind the competition being presented as a concert, including Preston Ochsenhirt, a sophomore studying digital cinema and commercial music.
The votes were tallied: Josh Hooker, a sophomore of vocal performance and music education, won the prize for vocalist. Scott Smith, a junior in clarinet performance, won the other two scholarships.
“We’ve never had a competition of this kind at UVU before, especially one that pits vocalists against instrumentalists. To have a current UVU student put it on is pretty remarkable,” Reed Criddle, director of choral activities, said.
The show featured 11 musicians who competed for three scholarships: instrumental performance, vocal performance, and networking excellence, which was awarded to the student who brought the most audience members.
“Half of the battle in music is getting people to attend your concerts,” Ochsenhirt explained.
Nancy Baumgartner, a professor of commercial music agreed with the decision wholeheartedly. “Your fans are number one, so if you can’t connect with your fans and the audience it doesn’t really matter,” she said.
The show had a voting system in place for both audiences and judges. The judges were Baumgartner, Criddle, and two other esteemed music professors: Natalie Douglas, a french horn professor, and Jeffrey O’Flynn, assistant clarinet professor. Ochsenhirt broke down the judging system before the show began: the judges would vote based on technical aspects and the audience on popularity. Each groups’ votes would account for 50 percent, each, of the overall score.
The show began with introduction videos for each performer. Ochsenhirt is also a member of the film club, who assisted him with the show. These introductions were filmed when the finalists for the show were selected, and the selection process involved an audition for Ochsenhirt and a friend of his who helps with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
Following each performance, the musicians were asked a few questions about how they felt the show went and whether they knew the audience’s opinion was a critical part of their score. All the participants said they felt that it had gone well, but a handful had no idea they were being graded by the audience.
This is just one of the many impacts the Noorda Center is having on the performing arts programs. A new event like this goes hand in hand with what O’Flynn had to say about the building.
“It’s a world-class performing space that’s unrivaled in the state,” O’Flynn said. “It puts us heads and shoulders above anything else offered.”
Ochsenhirt expects the event to continue for many years to come.
Photo by Natasha Colburn. In the photo, Josh Hooker, Choral Music Education and Vocal Performance double major, sings an opera with a humorous twist.