Tri-State College Vocal Competition

Front row (left to right): Jeffrey Powell, Natalia Adame, Holly Thiemann, Haley Guerra, Siyi Yan, Anthony Josep, Antoinette Pompe van Meerdervoort.
Back row (left to right): Vernon Hartman, Kara Shay Thomson, Kathleen Clawson, Ken Shaw

Tri-State College Vocal Competition

Opera Guild of Dayton was thrilled to be able to host its Tri-State College Vocal Competition at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church once again on June 4. A field of 17 applicants was narrowed to six finalists for the event. Their superb voices filled the sanctuary with wonderous selections from a wide variety of opera masterpieces.

The first place winner of the Competition was Siyi Yan from Indiana University. Siyi was also the winner of the Fran Michael Audience Favorite Award. Natalia Adame from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) earned second place followed by Holly Thiemann also from CCM in third and Antoinette Pompe van Meerdervoort in fourth place. Haley Guerra and Anthony Josep were finalists. These final three singers were all from Indiana University. Congratulations to everyone!

Siyi Yan, 1st Place Winner

The Opera Guild of Dayton was pleased to have Ken Shaw, Professor of Voice at University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and co-producer of the nationally awarded Opera d’arte (the CCM Undergraduate Opera), as chair of the 2023 Tri-State College Vocal Competition. He secured 17 applicants for the 2023 Competition from six area universities. The preliminary judges chose the finalists who performed at the final Competition.

Kenneth Shaw, voice

Some of this year’s High School Vocal Competition winners entertained the audience while the judges deliberated the college winners. They include many talented young vocalists from throughout the state of Ohio. Jeffrey Powell added his special talents as the pianist for all of the singers during the Competition.

A short reception followed the Competition. The judges and winners mixed and mingled with the attendees. 

The preliminary judges for the Competition were Andrea Chenoweth Wells, soprano and artist/teacher at University of Dayton, and Isaac Selya, managing general director and conductor of Queen City Opera in Cincinnati. The judges for the finals were: Kathleen Clawson, artistic and general director of Dayton Opera; Kara Shay, well known dramatic soprano and favorite of Dayton Opera fans; and Vernon Hartman, a noted international baritone with twenty years at the MET as well as considerable producing and teaching credits.

Thanks go out to Managing Vice President of Education Susan Daly for her extraordinary work in coordinating the day. Helping Susan was was a team which included Dolores Anderson, David Sievers, Sue Falter, Ginger Minniman and Suzanne Crippen. It was a great job by all involved.

Further details about the Competition itself are available by clicking here. If you have questions, Ken can be reached at


Winners of the last Competition in 2020

First Place Winner – David Christopher Young

David Young
David, a student at DePauw University in Indiana, is a tenor from Houston, Texas. He is majoring in Vocal Performance.

Click on the carat above to hear David’s rendition of ‘Una furtiva lagrima’ from The Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti.

Second Place Winner – Lydia Grace Graham

Lydia Graham
Lydia is a student at The Juilliard School majoring in Vocal Performance. She is a soprano who hails from Danville, Kentucky.

Click on the carat above to hear Lydia sing ‘Comme autrefois‘ from The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet.

Third Place Winner – Katherine Amanda Jones

Katherine Jones
Katherine is a soprano from Indianapolis, Indiana studying Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Houston.

Katherine submitted ‘Il est doux est bon‘ from Hérodiade by Jules Massenet for one of her arias. Click on the carat above to hear Katherine.

Fourth Place Winner – Mackenzie Jacquemin

Mackenzie Jacquemin

Mackenzie is a soprano from Cincinnati, Ohio who is studying voice at San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

By clicking on the carat above, you can hear Mackenzie sing ‘Porgi amor‘ from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.

In addition to the 4 placed winners, there were two additional Finalists:

Sam Khalid Dhobhey
Sam is a student at University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, majoring in Vocal Performance. Sam is a bass-baritone who from Brooklyn, New York.

Alaina Louise Saliba
Alaina is a soprano from Beavercreek, Ohio. Currently a student at University of Dayton, Alaina is majoring in Vocal Performance.

The Opera Guild of Dayton extends sincere congratulations to all the winners and other participants, as well as good wishes for successful futures using your gifts of music.

Singers from past Competitions have made substantive marks in the opera world. Click here to read some of their fascinating accomplishments. Most recently, the 2002 second place winner, Elizabeth DeShong, was just written up very favorably in the March 2020 edition of Opera News.


The criteria for this competition was:


Any student age 18-23 who attends college in Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky, or is a resident of Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky and attends college elsewhere may apply.

Preliminary Competition Requirements

  • A recent 8×10 photo
    Digital photos (.jpg or .png format) can be uploaded using the online application. Photos are non-returnable if mailed.
  • A good quality recording of three contrasting arias, each performed in its original language
    Recording media may be: an audio CD or MP3 files on a data CD or flash drive, or MP3 if using the online application.  Media is non-returnable if mailed.
  • Two letters of recommendation from music professionals
    Scans (.pdf format) can be uploaded using the online application.
  • A $25 non-refundable application fee
    The fee is collected by credit card if using the online application.

Additional Information

• Up to six finalists will be selected by preliminary judges.
• All entrants will be notified via mail by late March.
• Finalists will compete before a panel of judges on April 5, 2020.
• Winners may be asked to perform at an Opera Guild of Dayton event.


First Place………………………………..$3,500
Second Place……………………………$2,000
Third Place……………………………..$1,000
Audience Favorite……………………….$400
All Other Finalists…between $150 and $200

Inquiries regarding the competition can be sent to her Ginger’s email Or you may call Ginger at 937/287-0828.

Christopher Humbert Jr.Christopher Humbert Jr.

Raven S. McMillonRaven S. McMillon

Katherine Lerner LeeKatherine Lerner Lee

Congratulations to the 2019 Winners Shown Above.


2019 Tri-State College Vocal Competition

The Opera Guild of Dayton held its annual Tri-State College Vocal Competition at the Kettering Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Sunday, April 9, beginning at 1:30 p.m. It was a plethora of young singing talent. The winner was Christopher Humbert Jr., a bass-baritone from Capital University. Click here to hear a snippet of his winning vocals. Second place was earned by soprano Raven S. McMillon from College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Raven was also presented The Fran Michael Audience Favorite Award. Third place was awarded to soprano Katherine Lerner Lee of Oberlin Conservatory and College. Congratulations to all.

Jerry Reaper and Jeffrey Powell returned as preliminary judges for 2019. They selected six finalists for the event on April 7. Judges for the finals were: voice professor Jamie Cordes of Wright State University, voice professor Dr. Mark Spencer of Cedarville University and Tom Bankston, artistic director of the Dayton Opera. The Guild is grateful to Jeffrey Powell who acted as pianist for the Competition.