Stark, many other GKSOM students successful at NATS Regional

Maddy Stark
Maddy Stark

Forty University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music student-singers won recognitions as part of the 2020 West Central NATS Regional Student Auditions Online Competition October 22 – December 5. A record-breaking 481 students entered from across the region.

Paced by junior vocal performance major Maddy Stark winning the Music Theatre Singer of the Year Award, the recognitions included:

• 18 places — 4 firsts, 4 seconds, 5 thirds, 2 fourths, 3 fifths—advancing these students to the national level in the NATS National Student Auditions. See link:
• 22 total awards
• 31 additional semifinalists' auditions earned scores in the highest tier of the rubric from a panel of professional judges in their category of entry
• 13 students earned recognitions in both classical and music theatre categories
• 53 total recognitions of merit in the competition

GKSOM student-singers won 29.3% of the 75 awarded collegiate prizes. The next highest percentages were: 20.0% won by Kansas State University; 16.0% won by University of Colorado–Boulder. Advanced category finals were adjudicated by 12 guest artist adjudicators, including professionals from the Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Tony-winners from Broadway.

“I was completely shocked when I found out that I received the 2020 Music Theatre singer of the year,” Stark said. “I was not expecting it at all. It was just the news I needed during a very unprecedented time for performers. I am incredibly thankful!”

Stark is a junior vocal performance major in the Glenn Korff School of Music, where she studies singing with Alisa Belflower and enjoys performing in Jazz Singers under the direction of David von Kampen. Most recently, she has been seen on the Nebraska Repertory stage performing in the Holiday Cabaret and was cast as Catherine in Nebraska Rep’s production of Pippin. Last fall she played the role of Theresa in the world premiere of The Gambler's Son with the UNL Opera. Other performances include Grace in the ASCAP-winning reading of Modern and in the ensemble cast of Violet as well as UNL's Music Theatre Showcases. In the summer of 2019, Maddy was selected to participate in the Open Jar Institute in New York City and was chosen as a featured soloist in their showcase.

For the finals, Stark sang “A house is not a home” from Burt Bacharach’s Promises, Promises. In the first round, she sang an additional three pieces from On the Twentieth Century, The Flood, and Bullets Over Broadway.

Here is her performance in the final (she is the first one in the video):

“I am humbled and honored that they chose my performance,” Stark said, who recorded all of her auditions for Regional NATS in late October at her home in Omaha. “The piece I chose to sing in the finals is one of my most favorite to perform and I believe it is a perfect fit for my voice.”

She is forever grateful for her teacher, Alisa Belflower, for giving her the opportunity to compete in state, regional, and national NATS competitions.

“I would not have received this award without her and my collaboration with the amazing accompanist, Louis Claussen,” Stark said. “Coming from a family of experienced and professional musicians, I was greatly influenced and supported by my whole family to devote my education and career to music and theatre performance.”

The National NATS auditions will take place July 8-10, 2021. Due to the pandemic, it is to be announced whether or not they will be held in-person or online.