First Posted: 11/27/2009
Two local students dream of pursuing music careers, and after winning state vocal competitions, they are another step closer to reaching their goals.
A few weeks ago, Savannah Lee Mumford and Will Bryant took first place prizes for winning theater categories at a statewide National Association of Teachers of Singing competition held at Meredith College.
Its a very tough competition, said Sandy Beam, their private voice instructor.
Savannah, 15, is a sophomore at Mount Airy High School, and Will, 17, is a junior at North Surry High School.
Savannah competed in the freshman-sophomore bracket against 19 other female singers. Will competed against 16 male singers in the junior-senior bracket.
They have to put a lot into it, said Beam. I try to teach them everything I can. Im proud of these students.
Katlyn Shaw and Shelley McClusky from Mount Airy also competed. Beam said, Both did very well.
For the NATS competitions, competitors have to sing three songs apiece. Beam said he believed his students good voices helped them win.
Beam added, And theyve worked hard. Theyre determined. They want to do their best.
Will and Savannah will now go to compete in the regional competition for theater, which will take place at the University of South Carolina in April. Regionals is between top singers from five states.
Before that, the students will compete in the NATS classical competition in February at Converse College. If Savannah and Will also win there, they will sing in the classical competition at regionals as well. Regionals is as far as the competition goes, as there is no national competition.
Beam has been a member of NATS for around 15 years. He said, Its big. Its nationwide.
Last year, Savannah made it to regionals but didnt place. She hopes to come home with a win this year.
Savannah said she has been singing since she was born. She has been taking lessons from Beam for almost four years.
Without him, I couldnt be where I am, she remarked.
The student found a passion for musicals in the eighth grade when she was in a talent show at camp and had to sing a Broadway song. Now she dreams of becoming a Broadway actress, and her dream role is to play Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
Savannah explained why she loves singing for theater. She said, You can become anybody. You dont have to be yourself. Its an awesome feeling.
This past summer, Savannah auditioned for Broadway. Until she finishes school and is fully able to pursue her dream, Savannah will continue to work on her singing. She said she would also love to get more acting lessons. She is currently part of several singing and theatrical groups.
Will began taking singing lessons a few years ago from Sandy. Actually, his mom initially had to force him to take lessons. Will said he was clueless at first.
Ive been working harder at it, he said.
Last year, Will won both the theater and classical competitions at the state level. At regionals, he tied for first in theater and won the classical competition.
Regionals is tough, because you have to sing six songs in one day, Will explained.
Although Will didnt like singing at first, now he has a passion for it and wants to sing for his career.
This is what I want to do, he said.
Will plans to attend a four-year college where he will probably major in music theater.
I will need a ton of training, he said.
Will gained a love for music theater when he played a role in the Wizard of Oz in the seventh grade.
It gives me a chance to be somebody else, he said.
Were really proud of him, said Lisa, Wills mom.
Beam will continue working with Savannah and Will to prepare them for upcoming competitions.
ZHe explained, Im tough, but Im also human. I push them.
Beam believes his students will do well.
Theyre pretty special kids … They know what they want, he noted.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.