Vanessa Doss is the 2014 Singer of the Year
Music, Opera, University Center for the Arts | February 28, 2014
Coming into CSU as a music therapy major, sophomore Vanessa Doss never would have guessed that in just over a year’s time that she would be the last one standing as the winner of the 10th Annual Singer of the Year scholarship competition that took place on Saturday, Feb. 8 this spring.
This popular annual competition features CSU’s finest undergraduate vocal students competing for awards and scholarships, including the $5,000 Singer of the Year scholarship.
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Hailing from Greeley, Colo., Vanessa began singing in fourth grade choir and continued participation in music through middle and high school. Drawn to CSU by the sense of community at the school and in Fort Collins, however, she quickly began to stand out as an exceptional singer to teacher, Dr. John Seesholtz, who encouraged her to consider music performance.
“When I first began working with her a year and a half ago in the Freshmen Voice Studio, I would periodically get glimpses of the beautiful voice that she has developed today,” said John Seesholtz. “She heard and felt them too, and she chased them down in the practice room and in lessons. She was relentless in building her technique.”
“I had a lot of trust in Dr. J from the beginning,” said Vanessa. “CSU is great because you know everyone has your back, and that type of support is really valuable.”
Competing against friends and classmates, Vanessa admitted that nerves certainly take their toll, especially as the first competition of its kind in which she’s performed.
“We were all in it together, though,” she said. “We all worked really hard.”
Watching the competition last year, Vanessa made up her mind a year ago that she would compete this year.
“I talked about it with Dr. J and we decided on my pieces pretty early on,” said Vanessa. “But then we found another piece that was better about two weeks before the competition, so we switched.”
Competing through two rounds and again five finalists, Vanessa performed Enrique Granados’ “Elegia eternal” and Ricky Ian Gordon’s “In Time of Silver Rain” for the competition and also received an award as Most Improved Singer.
“Vanessa’s work ethic and drive are what makes her great,” said Seesholtz. “She has earned every ounce of success and that is what makes this honor so wonderful. She’s in the practice room all the time, and she works as hard as she can.”
“CSU offers so many different performing opportunities that really get you ready to enter the professional world,” said Vanessa. “And winning this competition really gives me the confidence that changing to performance was the right decision and makes me feel like I can do more in my career.”
As Vanessa finishes her degree at CSU, she anticipates pursuing graduate degrees in music and to teach in the future.
“As my teacher, Dr. J has really changed my life as a performer,” Vanessa noted. “And it has inspired me to want to be that for someone else in the future.”
Other awards at the 10th Annual Singer of the Year include:
- Opera Awards: Ryan McPeek, Marissa Rudd, and Eric Botto
- Ralph Opera Center Award: Justin Little
- Singer of the Year: Vanessa Doss