By: Mallory Turner
Gardner-Webb sophomore Julia DeSerio tied for first in a regional singing competition that included singers from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and D.C. She will move forward with a chance to compete on the national level with singers from all over the country.
DeSerio is a voice concentration major, and has been taking lessons since she was a freshman in high school.
The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) holds an annual competition that starts at the state level and ends with a national competition that is held in Chicago, IL.
After placing second at the state level and tying for first in the regional level, DeSerio will go on to the next round of judging before nationals, which involves submitting a YouTube video demonstrating her singing abilities.
“From those videos a panel will pick a select few to go on to nationals,” DeSerio said.
This means that not everyone who was picked at the regional level will get to go on to the national competition.
“It’s something to be good, but it’s something different to be above average,” said DeSerio. “You can go in and sing a song, but it also takes the special attention to detail like making sure your technique is right, your expressions [and] the acting that goes along with the singing.”
DeSerio is from the studio of Jondra Harmon, a professor in the department of music at Gardner-Webb. Harmon has been at the university for four years. She has had students for three of those years go on to compete in NATS, but campus productions prevented them from competing at the regional level.
Harmon has lessons with DeSerio one hour every week. “We talk about technical things she might be working out in her voice, we talk about how to be musical and how to be artistic [and] how to carry herself on stage,” said Harmon. “I think it’s so much harder than a regular class, because we only get to meet for an hour, [so] the student has to be really self-motivated.”
National semifinals and finals will be July 9-10. The prizes for first, second and third will total at least $30,000.