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March 16, 2021

Six Roberts Students Win Top Awards at the National Association of Teachers of Singing 2021 Eastern Regional Auditions

Roberts Wesleyan College

Winners in the National Association of Teachers of Singing 2021 Eastern Regional Auditions were announced on Sunday, March 14th. Almost 500 singers and 83 teachers at major colleges and universities from Quebec in the north through the NY/NJ metropolitan area to WV in the south participated in the event, including nine Roberts Wesleyan College vocal students.

Six of the nine Roberts participants advanced to the final round and won top awards at the Eastern Region Convention this weekend. As finalists, they are qualified to compete in the NATS 2021 National Auditions, set to take place later this spring. Winners of that round will be announced at the National Convention in July.

First Place winners are Rebecca Mugnolo'20, junior Abbegael Greene and freshman Benjamin Thompson who performed in the final concert on Sunday afternoon. Freshman Emily Sylvester finished as a second place winner, and seniors Orlando Boxx and Lillian Goetzman were third place winners in their categories.

Juniors Sandra Godwin and Ellsbeth Hvizdak and sophomore Maria Foti also received strong scores and encouraging comments from the judges. The Robers participants were accompanied by their pianists, senior Laura Freeman and faculty members Olivia Colomaio and Julie Runion.

About the Participants

Orlando Boxx

Orlando Boxx ‘21 is a senior vocal major who will graduate from Roberts in May with a BA degree in music and a minor in marketing.  A Rochester native, Orlando serves on campus as an RA and as President of the RWC Chorale.  He has performed as a soloist on Homecoming, Christmas Gala, and Chorale concerts, and in community theatre productions with RWCCT, OFC Creations, and the JCC in Rochester.  He is currently the producer/director for the musical theatre portion of the Roberts Quarantunes program which will feature opera scenes, arias, and musical theatre numbers, and is scheduled to be presented virtually in late April. After graduation, Orlando plans to pursue a Master’s degree in education at Roberts and to continue doing what he loves: music!

Lillian Goetzman

Lillian Goetzman ’21, is a senior Music Education major who successfully completed her student teaching placements last semester, and is already employed as a substitute teacher in the public schools while still an undergraduate.  Lilli is the 2020 Aria winner of the Roberts Wesleyan College Concerto/Aria Competition and was cast in the role of Papagena in the RWC Opera Theatre production of The Magic Flute. She has performed often as a soloist in Chorale, Jazz Ensemble, Opera Scenes, and Great American Songbook concerts.  In the fall of 2021, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Master of Music degree at Syracuse University.

Abbegael Greene

Abbegael Greene ’22 is a junior Music Education major from Lansdale, PA.  A winner of the recent NATS 2020/2021 District auditions, she holds a leadership position in the Roberts Wesleyan College Chorale and has performed as soloist with the Roberts Chorale, RWCCO, at the 2019 Homecoming Gala, and in Great American Songbook concerts. Abbey is a creator and co-producer of Roberts Quarantunes, a program of scenes from opera and musical theatre organized by RWC music students, which will be performed and live-streamed later this semester.

Rebecca Mugnolo

Rebecca Mugnolo ’20, originally from Rochester, graduated from Roberts in December with a B.S. degree in Vocal Performance. She was the aria winner of the 2019 RWC Concerto/Aria Competition, and has performed as a soloist with the Roberts Wesleyan College-Community Orchestra (RWCCO), the RWC Chorale, in Opera Scenes and Great American Songbook concerts, and as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Pamina in The Magic Flute in RWC Opera Theatre productions. Becca has also won first place in two past NATS District auditions. She has received scholarship offers for graduate programs and will begin her master’s degree in vocal performance in the fall of 2021.

Emily Sylvester

Emily Sylvester ‘24, a soprano from Churchville, NY, is a freshman Music Education major at Roberts.  She is a member of the RWC Chorale and is a leader of Revival campus ministry.  Last spring, Emily was cast in the role of Belle in Beauty and the Beast at Churchville-Chili HS, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic, but she will have the opportunity to perform some of her favorite scenes from the show on the Roberts Quarantunes program in April.

Benjamin Thompson

Benjamin Thompson ’24, a freshman Vocal Performance major from Pamplin, VA, is a baritone in the RWC Chorale.  Also an accomplished composer and pianist, he has accompanied his colleagues in performance and on recordings, and has performed often as a vocal soloist at RWC events and Chapel services. He will appear this May in the RWC Musical Stage Class production of For $ale, composed and directed by Roberts emeritus professor and former VP, Dr. Nelson Hill.


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