MURRAY, Ky. — Emma Whitt has always felt at home on a stage, performing and sharing her passion for music with others. It is that same love for song that led the Murray State University senior to the Classical Singer Vocal Competition in Boston from May 24–27.

Whitt is a senior from Knoxville, Tennessee, studying vocal performance in Murray State’s department of music. In the spring 2018 semester, Whitt joined approximately 1,500 classical singers from around the country in auditioning for a spot in the Classical Singer Vocal Competition. She was ultimately invited to perform during the Classical Music Convention at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and would go on to compete as one of seven finalists in the last round of competition.

“Going in, I was there for the feedback and the overall experience — any chance to advance was just a bonus,” Whitt said. “The news that I had made finals was just so thrilling and assured me that I am moving in the right direction as a performer. I was just so honored to have a chance to sing alongside some of the most talented emerging professionals in the country.”

In addition to performing in multiple rounds of competition while in Boston, Whitt made the most of her time at the convention through networking opportunities and by attending master classes and seminars.

“The opportunity to represent myself as an artist in front of so many industry professionals and potential graduate programs is something I couldn’t pass up,” Whitt said. “There were master classes and presentations every day, and I got to hear amazing singers from around the world, which was both humbling and inspiring.”

Whitt’s overall success in competition was the result of her tenacity and perseverance as well as her training in the University’s music department. During her time at Murray State, Whitt has performed in two operas and four musicals on campus. She has also sung with the Murray State Concert Choir and represented the College of Humanities and Fine Arts as a student ambassador. She has committed herself to her craft with countless hours of rehearsals to improve and utilize new vocal techniques in addition to pursuing performance opportunities and feedback from her professors.

“Emma’s commitment to hard work and perseverance is clearly paying off as shown in her success in this and other competitions,” said Dr. Lucia Unrau, chair for the music department. “She is taking full advantage of what we have to offer in the department of music at Murray State University, and we are so very proud of her.”

Now, looking ahead to her graduation in spring 2020, Whitt plans to use her remaining two years at the University to begin auditioning for professional theater companies. She also plans to pursue a graduate degree in performance in the coming years.

“This experience [performing in Boston] really pushed me toward those goals,” Whitt said. “I put my name and voice out there for a lot of people to hear, and I am excited to see where that may lead me in the coming years.”

Emma Whitt performs on stage.
Emma Whitt, a Murray State University senior studying vocal performance from Knoxville, Tennessee, performed in Boston during the Classical Singer Vocal Competition from May 24–27. She would go on to compete as one of seven finalists in the last round of competition. Photo by Simpl Photography.


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