Tri-State College Vocal Competition

Tri-State College Vocal Competition

Opera Guild of Dayton is currently looking for a qualified chair for the 2023 Competition. Contact Susan Daly at or 937/581-0319 if interested.

The Opera Guild of Dayton, with the excellent management of this year’s college vocal competition chair Ginger Minneman, was able to host the 2020 Tri-State College Vocal Competition, albeit in a drastically different format than usual.

Because of the special circumstances owing to the coronavirus, the 2020 Tri-State College Vocal Competition was judged remotely using the application audios and videos submitted by each applicant. The decision to move forward with the vocal competition using the electronic media was made by Ginger Minneman after contacting and consulting with all of her judges. Thirteen students submitted applications which were forwarded to the preliminary judges.

Preliminary judges for the 2020 Competition included Jeffrey Powell, director for Dayton Opera Chorus, former music director of the Dayton Opera Artists-in-Residence program and the resident conductor for Dayton Opera. He has frequently accompanied opera singers at events and during this Competition. Jeffrey is also the piano director at Stivers School for the Arts. The second preliminary judge was Dr. Peter Keates, adjunct instructor of voice at Oklahoma City University. Besides his teaching, he performs in a variety of baritone roles. Dr. Keates is also the chancel choir director at Southern Hills United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.

Jeffrey Powell

Jeffrey Powell

Dr. Peter Keates

Dr. Peter Keates

Judges for the finals of this Competition were Tom Bankston, Mary Henderson Stucky and Martin Bakari. Tom is the artistic director of Dayton Opera and is celebrating his 25th year with the company. Mary is a professor of voice at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Martin is an accomplished operatic performer called a “golden tenor”  and “vocally charismatic” by Opera News and hails from Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Tom Bankston

Tom Bankston

Mary Henderson Stucky

Mary Henderson Stucky

Martin Bakari

Martin Bakari

We are pleased to announce the following winners of the Tri-State College Vocal Competition:
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.