Alltech Orchestrates Hope, Opportunity for Aspiring Vocalists at 9th Annual Vocal Scholarship Competition
[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – “It’s a game-changer, it’s a life-changer, it’s the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech on Sunday, March 9, when 17 vocal finalists sang their hearts out at the 9th Annual Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. Vocalists came from as far as Venezuela, South Africa and Ecuador to Lexington’s UK Singletary Center for the Arts with a voice and a dream, and left with over a half-million dollars in scholarships to attend the UK School of Music. The competition, fuelled by Alltech, the University of Kentucky and several other supporting business partners, awarded nine high school graduates and eight college graduates with cash prizes and tuition waivers to UK.
Christopher Kenney of Fargo, N.D. grabbed the top prize as the Alltech Graduate Winner, with Blake Denson of Paducah, Ky. taking home first place as the Alltech Undergraduate Winner.
“I am over the moon with this opportunity to come to the University of Kentucky and work with the faculty and staff there to further my vocal education. I feel really lucky, and so blessed that Alltech has given me this chance,” said Christopher Kenney, Alltech Graduate Winner.
The other winners of the 2014 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition include:
- Second Place Alltech Graduate Winner – Caroline Pircon, Macomb, Ill.
- Bryant’s Rent-All & Kentucky Eagle Second Place Alltech Undergraduate Winner – Michael Pandolfo, Fort Worth, Texas
- Jim Beam & C&T Durham Logistics, Inc. First Place Transfer Student Award Winner – Thanbang Stevens Masango, Pretoria, South Africa
- Lynn Imaging’s Monster Color Transfer Student Encouragement Award Winner– Izhar Poncelis Santana, Mexico City, Mexico
The largest vocal event in Kentucky, the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition has granted over $3.2 million to undergraduate and graduate students since it began in 2006. Since then, it has given students the opportunity to perform at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, serenade Muhammad Ali, visit the Queen of England at Windsor Castle, and explore numerous countries around the world including Ireland, New York, China, Peru, and Mexico, among others.
“Alltech is a global company and they’ve made it part of their business to support students and the arts. We are extremely honored that Dr. Pearse Lyons, Deirdre Lyons and their children, Dr. Mark and Dr. Aoife Lyons have made the students and staff of the UK Opera Theatre program part of their global family,” said Dr. Everett McCorvey, director of the UK Opera Theatre.
On Sunday, the hopefuls auditioned in front of a live audience and a panel of three highly-esteemed opera industry experts. The winners were determined based on technical vocal ratings in the areas of clarity, range and precision. First and second place winners not only received cash prizes of $4,000-plus, but also tuition waivers and/or graduate assistantships to the University of Kentucky School of Music. All who competed in the competition went home with a cash prize for their participation.
The 2014 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition was emceed by the 2013 third place Alltech Graduate Winner, Shareese Johnson Arnold, and included crowd-pleasing performances from past winners, as well as the Kentucky McTeggart Irish Dancers and Celtic band, Liam’s Fancy.
Demonstrated through the annual Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition and the Alltech Celebration of Song each holiday season, Alltech is a proud advocate of arts in education.
“There’s no limit to what these next outstanding vocalists can do, in our community and around the world,” Dr. Lyons noted. “It is truly our honor to help them on their journey and give them the opportunity to develop and share their talent with others.”
In 2012, Alltech was honored as one of the “Top 10 Companies Supporting the Arts in America,” by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading non-profit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. Both the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition and the Alltech Celebration of Song during the holiday season showcase the talent of the students enrolled in the UK Opera Theatre program.