Butler University Vocal Competition
BUVC 2024 registration is open, register here!
The Butler University Vocal Competition (BUVC) encourages excellence in solo vocal performance. It is an opportunity for high school singers to learn through master classes and workshops with Butler faculty and guest clinicians and to connect with college students pursuing music careers. The BUVC consists of an online first round followed by a live Semi-Finals and Finals event on the campus of Butler University.
- Wednesday, November 1, 2023: Registration opens
- Sunday, January 14, 2024: Round 1 videos due by 10:00 PM Eastern Time
- Monday, January 22, 2024: Online Round 1 Semi-finalists announced
- Tuesday, January 23 – Friday, February 9: Sample lessons for semi-finalists with Butler University voice faculty
- Monday, February 5: Repertoire forms submissions due
- Saturday, February 10, 2024: Live, in-person event with Semi-Finals and Finals rounds plus workshops, a recital, and more! See Live Event Details below.
- First Place: $500
- Second Place: $400
- Third Place: $300
- IDEA Award: $200, see full award description below
- Encouragement Award for 9th or 10th grader: $100
The Butler University Vocal Competition is open to high school singers in 9th through 12th grade. U.S. citizens or green card holders are eligible to receive prize money. Winners will be required to fill out a W-9 form and provide a social security number to receive prize money. International students are welcome to participate in the full event for comments, but eligibility for prize money will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For questions about international participation, contact email@example.com.
A $50 registration fee is required to register for the event. There are no additional charges for master classes, workshops, or other event activities. The registration fee is not refundable. We aim to make the competition accessible to all interested singers so if the registration fee is prohibitive, please contact Dr. Zenobi directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
BUVC Timeline & Important Dates
- November 1, 2023: Registration opens.
- Sunday, January 14, 2024: Round 1 video recordings due by 10:00 PM Eastern Time.
- Monday, January 22, 2024: Semi-finalists announced and all Round 1 comments distributed to participants via email.
- Tuesday, January 23 through Friday, February 9: Sample lessons for Semi-Finalists begin.
- Monday, February 5: Repertoire Submission Forms due for all Semi-Finalists by 10:00 PM Eastern Time.
- Saturday, February 10: Live Event with Semi Finals and Finals Rounds
BUVC Live Event: February 10, 2024
Live event includes Semi-Finals and Finals rounds, masterclass and workshops, lunch with current students, a showcase recital, and closing ceremony. A schedule overview is below, more details will be shared as the event gets closer. Families and teachers are welcome to observe all events!
BUVC Live Event Schedule Overview (subject to change)
- 8:30 AM-1:00 PM (ET) Semi-Finals Round
- 9:30 AM-Noon Workshops and Clinics with Butler faculty, past offerings included Sight Singing and Solfege, Character Development, Italian Diction, Musicianship and Movement (Dalcroze Eurythmics)
- 1:00-2:30 PM Lunch with current Butler students in campus dining hall
- 2:30-4:00 PM Master Class and Announcement of Finalists
- 4:15-5:00 PM Final Round
- 5:00-5:30 P Showcase Concert by Current Butler Students
- 5:30 PM Awards Presentation
For Round 1, singers must perform TWO SELECTIONS from memory. Selections must meet the following criteria:
- Your repertoire must include at least one Classical style piece (art songs or arias). The second selection can (but does not have to) be a Musical Theater piece.
- At least one piece must be in English
- At least one piece must be in a language other than English.
Videos should be prepared and submitted as follows:
- Each selection should be video recorded in a single, unedited take.
- You may work with a live collaborative pianist, or use a pre-recorded accompaniment. The pianist does not need to be shown in the video.
- Face the camera and direct your gaze as if the recording device were a panel of live judges.
- Do not move the camera, zoom, or cut to different camera angles during the performance.
- Avoid recording in spaces that are overly live/reverberant. We want to hear your voice clearly!
- Do not edit the audio in any way, including correcting pitch or adding/removing reverb.
- Singers, please speak a brief introduction at the beginning of each recording, including:
- Your name
- Your grade
- The title of your piece
- The composer
- The name of the opera, operetta, musical, or song cycle from which it is excerpted, if relevant.
- The date you are making the recording
- Example: Hello, my name is Singer Singerson. I am a ninth grader at Epic Musical High School in Indianapolis, IN. Today is December 1, 2021. I will be singing Alma del core by Antonio Caldara.
- A submission form will be emailed to each BUVC participant after registration is confirmed. You may upload your videos to Youtube or Vimeo and submit the links, or enter Google Drive links.
High school seniors participating in the competition may use their BUVC Round 1 performances as an audition for admission into the Butler University School of Music as well as for music scholarship consideration.. To utilize this option, students must apply to Butler University as a music major via the Common App, listing voice as their primary instrument. Students should complete their Common Application before submitting their BUVC Round 1 performance videos. The pre-screening requirement is waived for students using the BUVC audition option; please insert “BUVC” when prompted for a pre-screening video. Please note, students must be admitted academically to Butler University in order to be admitted into the School of Music. Students may still audition prior to receiving their academic admission decision. Questions? Email email@example.com or call 317-940-9656.
New to the BUVC is the $200 IDEA Prize (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) which will be awarded to the singer who gives the strongest performance of an Art Song or Musical Theatre piece by an artist/artists from historically underrepresented communities. BUVC participants are encouraged to select works by artists who hold marginalized identities, including composers and writers from the African Diaspora, Asian and Pacific Islanders, self-identified LGBTQ+ artists, Latinx artists, women composers, and other creatives whose voices have not been equitably represented on the concert stage. We are excited to help nurture a generation of performers that tell stories from every perspective.
The Semi-Finals and Finals Rounds will take place live and in-person in the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. A full event schedule will be posted as the event gets closer. The live event is open to all participants, their families and friends, and private teachers. The event will include:
- Semi-Finals and Finals Rounds on the recital hall stage
- A showcase recital with current Butler voice majors
- Clinics and workshops with Butler voice faculty in topics such as Diction, Solfege, Musicianship and Movement, and more.
- Masterclasses with Butler voice faculty.
- Lunch with current music majors in campus dining hall
- Closing award ceremony
Dr. Dana Zenobi, Assistant Professor of Voice, BUVC Director
A native of Northport, NY, Dana Zenobi is a versatile performer who embraces both standard repertoire and new music. An active recitalist, Dr. Zenobi earned national recognition as an interpreter of art song by women composers when she was awarded an Honorable Mention for Exceptional Repertoire by The American Prize (2016). She has appeared as concert soloist with ensembles including the Austin Civic Orchestra, the Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, the Austin Chamber Ensemble, and line upon line percussion ensemble. She has also performed with Viola by Choice chamber music ensemble, and is featured on their 2010 debut recording, Florilegium. On the opera stage, she was deemed “the chief vocal pleasure” of Lyric Opera Cleveland’s The Pirates of Penzance, and named “a soprano to listen for” by the Cleveland Press. Read full bio.
Dr. Oliver Worthington, Associate Professor of Voice, Butler Opera Theatre Director
Oliver Worthington, baritone, has performed extensively as an opera singer, oratorio soloist and recitalist in Texas before moving to Indianapolis to join the faculty at Butler University. He has appeared with regional opera companies like South Texas Lyric Opera, San Antonio Opera, San Antonio Symphony, Hill Country Lyric, Austin Opera and Lone Star Lyric in diverse roles from Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus to Mamma Agatha in Viva la Mamma. Other roles include Count Gil in Il Segreto di Susanna, Bruschino in Il Signor Bruschino, Dr. Greg in Gallantry, The Duke of Plaza Toro in The Gondoliers, Le Podestat in Le Docteur Miracle and others in more traditional repertoire. Read full bio.
Dr. Becky Marsh, Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education
Dr. Becky Marsh is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Butler University. She holds the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education, with a choral conducting cognate, from Michigan State University. During her time at Michigan State, Dr. Marsh was awarded a university-wide Excellence-in-Teaching Citation. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education, as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Music Theory, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Read full bio.
Dr. Laura Storm, Lecturer of Voice
Soprano Laura Storm is a devoted pedagogue and an active performer of stage, concert, and chamber repertoire. Opera and musical theater performances include the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Salerno,
Italy; Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus; Alice Ford in Falstaff; The Governess in The Turn of the Screw; Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown; Golde in Fiddler on the Roof; Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music; and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Read full bio.
Professor Kirsten Gunlogson, Instructor of Voice
Grammy nominated Mezzo-Soprano Kirsten Gunlogson’s voice has been described as “rich”, “creamy” and “beautifully dramatic”. Mark Kanny, of the Pittsburgh Tribune, describes her voice as “a beautifully placed mezzo-soprano voice that is rich without ever being heavy.” Known for her convincing interpretation of trouser roles and charmingly feminine portrayals Ms. Gunlogson has distinguished herself as an impressive singing actress. Ms. Gunlogson has performed with Palm Beach Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Arizona Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Columbus, Baltimore Lyric Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Tulsa Opera, Toledo Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Anchorage Opera, Nashville Opera, Kentucky Opera, and Sarasota Opera. Read full bio.
Meagan Johnson, Instructor of Voice and Alexander Technique
A dynamic, interdisciplinary artist educator with more than 15 years experience teaching Alexander Technique and Voice to individuals and groups, Meagan loves empowering people with the skills and tools that support them in doing their best work and living their most whole lives — with ease, with freedom, and with joy.
With a life-long interest in the intersection of artistry, education, and well-being, Meagan Johnson is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, experienced singer and voice educator, and choral conductor. In addition to her Studio teaching in Indianapolis and online, she has served on the faculties of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Marian University, and University of Indianapolis, and is Artistic Director of Indianapolis Women’s Chorus. Read more about Meagan Johnson’s teaching philosophy.
Danielle Cozart Steele, Instructor of Voice
Danielle Cozart Steele enjoys a multifaceted career as a soprano, conductor, researcher, and clinician. An alumna of Butler University and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, she is currently pursuing her doctorate in music education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is an intersectional scholar of choral music and trans/queer inclusivity and her research centers on peace and social justice themes. She is the founder and organizer of the Transgender Singing Voice Conference.
Danielle served as the Artistic Director of the Young Professionals Choral Collective in Cincinnati, before returning to doctoral studies. She was on the faculty of IU East, directing the IU East Richmond Chorale, teaching private voice and conducting. In 2020, she joined World House Choir as their assistant director alongside Dr. Catherine Roma. Recently, Ms. Cozart Steele served as the Interim Director of Choral Activities at Earlham College. She also served as Interim Director for MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Chorus. Ms. Cozart Steele worked with the Dayton Correctional Institute for Women prison chorus, Hope for Harmony. She places priority on featuring women’s and minoritized voices in her classroom and music programming. Ms. Cozart Steele maintains an active solo vocal career, appearing in recital and with symphony orchestras throughout the Midwest. Her colorful, lyric soprano voice has earned her roles on the stages of Des Moines Metro Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Peach State Opera, Sugar Creek Symphony and Song, and Intimate Opera of Indianapolis. She is a champion of new music and enjoys working with living composers.
Li-Wen Weng, Staff Pianist
Li-Wen Weng is an active soloist and collaborative pianist. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, she graduated from National Taiwan Normal University with a double major in Piano Performance and English. After graduation, she attended Indiana University as a scholarship student and graduated with a master’s degree in Piano Performance. She then continued her musical journey by obtaining her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her past awards include 2nd Prize Winner of the Alexander & Buono International Piano Competition, the 2nd Prize Winner of the Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition, and the 1st prize winner of the Yamaha Piano Competition. Her music has taken her nationally and internationally including invited performances in Australia, Japan, and Singapore. In addition, she has performed at prestigious venues including Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. Her mentors included world renowned masters Evelyn Brancart, William Heiles, Chia-Wei,Chung, Susanne Gruetzmann, Andrzej Jasinski.
Her past teaching positions include an instructor in the Illinois Piano Laboratory program and also the faculty member of the of the online conservatory – Discover Melody. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor of keyboard skills and staff accompanist at Butler University. Learn more about Li-Wen.
Kim Kenny Green, C.E.O. of The Indy Urban Youth Music Academy
Kim has been performing for as long as she can remember. She attributes her rich sound to a hybrid of two worlds, classical music and a soulful spirit filled upbringing. As a child her voice was developed in her father’s church where she could be found each Sunday seated at the Hammond organ or family piano leading the congregation in worship. “My gift was cultivated in church. I am forever grateful for that experience, I will always be indebted to gospel music because of that, “ Kim says. Her recording career began as a teenager with a gospel EP titled “In Your Presence” followed by an album called “More Than A Conqueror ”where she wrote, arranged and produced both projects alongside her father, Reverend Gregory M. Kenny Sr. As a performer she is considered an award winning vocalist having earned the title of first place winner of the American Prize, opera division, and second place winner in the category of Art Song and Oratorio, a prestigious national award and industry recognition. Well versed in both classical and commercial stylings, her gift has taken her to stages across this nation. Some memorable highlights of her career include televised performances at the famed “Apollo Theater” in Harlem, New York, ABC studios Chicago for “Steve Harvey Show ” as well as the opportunity to share the stage with The Zach Brown Band, Jeffrey Page, The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Madonna, Mandy Gonzalez, Common(rapper), Lamar Campbell, Sandi Patty, Angela Brown, Rodnie Bryant and more…
Deeming education as one of her greatest passions, Kim attended Marian University on full tuition music scholarship and obtained her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. Upon her completion, she emerged into the field of music education as a piano accompanist, vocal coach and show choir director. It was during this time that ensembles under her direction earned such accolades as “ WHTR13 Indy’s Got Talent” winners, “IBEW 481 Circle of Lights finalists”, ISSMA gold(solo and ensemble) and was nominated as Outstanding High School Choir teacher and ensemble recognized by the Indiana Music Educators Association. After 9 years in the classroom, Kim decided to fuel her passion for Urban Arts Programming and transition into arts administration and launch her own community initiative. It was during this time that the Indy Urban Youth Choir was born while she also completed her second degree at Butler University, receiving a Master’s degree in Music. She is known in the music industry as a master vocal coach and choral arranger of the commercial music style. As a vocal coach she has produced and arranged for both regionally and nationally recognized recording artists. She has trained many vocal coaches, music educators, and has assisted in efforts of advocacy to launch arts programming for students in rural and inner city areas. While maintaining artistic affiliations with associations such as the Delaware Academy of Vocal Arts, El Sistema, Classical Singer, and the International Lyric Academy.
Today, Kim is still very active in efforts of advocacy and as the CEO of Kim Kenny LLC, and founder of The Indy Urban Youth Music Academy and Educational Services; a company
dedicated to serving K-12 schools. Her company provides arts programming for both the DFW metroplex and Indianapolis area and specializes in initiatives that equip organizations,
ministries and educational institutions to navigate issues such as staffing limitations, leadership training, workplace diversity, and professional development. Kim juggles her multifaceted career while being a devoted wife (Cameron Green M.Ed,Ed.D24’) and loving mother to her two beautiful daughters (Charity and Caroline).