Trinity is full of talented singers, but the Rosalind Phillips Vocal Excellence Competition singles out the best of the best. Kendall Walshak, junior psychology major, won first place in this year’s competition. Walshak, a mezzo-soprano, sang “In dem Schatten meiner Locken” by Hugo Wolf, “Where Corals Lie” from Edward Elgar’s “Sea Pictures” and “Faites-lui mes aveux” from Charles Gounod’s “Faust.”

“I didn’t really know how to react to be honest, I was just super excited. It was just really cool, and an honor to be able to win. Out in the audience I had so many supporters, like my family was all there, and my voice teacher and some of my colleagues were there. It’s just super fun to be able to perform for them,” Walshak said.

Singing five songs was a challenge, but Walshak rose to the occasion.

“I was able to rehearse [the songs] a lot with my voice teacher, with the accompanist, and during our studio time. We were given time to perform for our colleagues, and that was a really good experience. It helped me to feel really confident in myself and my abilities to be able to do that yesterday,” Walshak said. “I do plan to just have music always there in my life. I always want to be part of a choir. I love choir, I love performing. I don’t know if I will make it my livelihood, but it will always be a part of my life.”

Shane Bono, senior business analytics and technology major, took second place.  A tenor, Bono sang “My Heart is Like a Singing Bird” by Hubert Parry, “Chanson Triste” by Henri Duparc and “Bester Jüngling” from Mozart’s “Der Schauspieldirektor.”

Bono has been involved in choir since seventh grade, so performance was the culmination of many years of musical practice.

Many of the songs required students to act as the character who is singing. Luckily, character acting comes easily to Bono, who has been in many theater classes. Bono is a business major, but he has considered using his musical skills with Cirque du Soleil.

“I think backstage, waiting to go on and sing, most of the emotion was, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that we’re starting! It’s 2:56 and we’re starting in four minutes!’ And then Emma went out to sing first and then we were all, ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe that we’re actually starting this!’, so it was really freaky in that sense. It was a lot of buildup to singing, and then the actual singing was just a blur,” Bono said.

Ethan Jones, first-year music major, enjoyed the performance.

“I could tell that each one of them worked really hard on the songs that each of them played, and it was just really cool getting to hear fellow Trinity students tackle these challenging pieces of music and do it well,” Jones said.

This annual event honors Rosalind Phillips, professor emeritus in Trinity’s music department who taught voice from 1961–1989. The 2017 Rosalind Phillips Vocal Excellence Competition showcased talented Trinity singers, and provided a space for students and faculty interested in music to support their peers.