Student Opera Singer Wins Regional Honors

Student Opera Singer Wins Regional Honors

Elizabeth Melody Smith, a junior vocal performance major, won first place honors at the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club (NANBPWC) Vocal Competition for Emerging Artists for the Northeast Region. Competing against classical opera singers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey, Smith will soon compete in the national competition to be held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Founded in 1936, the NANBPWC mission is to promote and protect the interests of African American business and professional women, serve as advisors for young people seeking to enter business, improve the quality of life in local and global communities, and to foster good fellowship.

The competition, first introduced in 1983, is designed to recognize promising young black classical vocalists by providing a performance venue and scholarships. Since 2001, the NANBPWC has worked in partnership with the National Opera Association.

This is not the first time Smith has been recognized for her singing abilities. She won second place in the Junior Women’s Division of the NJNATS (National Association of Teachers in Singing), went on to win first place in the Eastern Region NATS, and was a semifinalist at the national competition in Chicago. She has since been given a scholarship to study at the Bayview Music Festival (Petoskey, MI) and was accepted into the Chautauqua Music Festival’s School of Music voice program to study under the celebrated opera teacher Marlena Malas.

“I have witnessed Elizabeth’s voice bloom into an extraordinary instrument, sometimes in the face of great adversity,” noted Dr. Donna Connolly, NJCU’s Coordinator of Vocal Studies. “I admire her tenacity and vibrant soul that rings out through her singing. She is nothing short of magnificent!”