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The Wind Ensemble playing music
School of Music

Butler University Vocal Competition

VIRTUAL Event for 2021:

Round 1 Submissions Due January 9
Synchronous workshops & Award Ceremony Sat, February 20: Click Here to View Schedule
Congratulations to our Winners!
First Prize Abigail Sprague 12th Grade Vestal, NY
Second Prize Wyatt McDaniel 11th Grade Manlius, NY
Third Prize Natalie Monell 12th Grade Louisville, KY
Encouragement Award Amélie Kaufman 10th Grade New York, NY
Honorable Mention Hannah Meg Weinraub 12th Grade Englewood, CO
Honorable Mention Luke Randazzo 11th Grade Cincinnati, OH
Honorable Mention Anna Fosco 12th Grade Naperville, IL


  • $500 First Prize
  • $300 Second Prize
  • $200 Third Prize
  • $100 Encouragement Award for a 9th or 10th grader


The Butler University Vocal Competition is open to all high school age singers (grades 9-12). Participants must be U.S. citizens or green card holders in order 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.

Performance Submission Instructions

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.

For the Final Round, singers must submit a video recording of ONE SELECTION.  It may be an updated recording of a selection performed in the first round, or a different piece.  Finalists may not submit the same recording used in the first round.

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.
  • Please observe COVID safety measures.  Masked performances will be accepted.
  • 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, 2020.  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.

Butler University Audition Option

High school seniors participating in the competition may use their BUVC performances as an audition for admission into the Butler University School of Music as well as music scholarship funding. All auditions for admission into the School of Music will be held virtually for the 2021 audition season. To utilize this option, students must apply to Butler University as a voice major via the Common App or Butler Application and are highly encouraged to complete their application before submitting their BUVC Round 1 performance video. The pre-screening requirement for vocal applicants is waived for students using the BUVC audition option. 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 or call 317-940-9065.


A $40 registration fee is required to register for the event. There are no additional charges for master classes, workshops, or other event content. The registration fee is not refundable. We aim to make the competition accessible to all interested singers. If the entry fee is prohibitive, please contact Dr. Zenobi directly (

Event Overview & Timeline

The virtual event will consist of two rounds culminating with a day of live, virtual content including master classes, awards ceremony, clinics, etc. on February 27. 

Date Activity
November 10, 2020 Online registration opens
Saturday, January 9, 2021

Round 1 performance video due no later than midnight (Eastern Time). Participants will receive access to the Round 1 Submission Form via email upon registering.

High School Seniors using the BUVC audition option should have their Butler Application or Common App completed BEFORE this date.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Finalists** and Master Class performers announced via email.

**Finalists will be contacted to schedule a complimentary, 30-minute lesson with a voice faculty member prior to February 13.

Saturday, February 6, 2021 Deadline for Finalists to submit additional performance video. Due no later than midnight (Eastern Time). Finalists will receive access to the Final Round Submission Form via email on January 23.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Live, virtual event!

  • Master Classes
  • Awards Ceremony
  • More!

View schedule here

Faculty Judges and Clinicians

Dana ZenobiDr. Dana Zenobi, Assistant Professor of Voice, Butler University Vocal Competition 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 here.


Oliver WorthingtonDr. Oliver Worthington, Assistant 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 here.


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 here.



Christopher SierraDr. Christopher Sierra, Lecturer of Voice

Peruvian-American tenor Christopher Sierra is recognized for his artistic sensitivity and versatility in repertoire ranging from Handel, Mozart, and Donizetti to Popov, Morrison, and contemporary premieres. He has performed with Opera Philadelphia, Santa Fe Opera, Opera New Jersey, Spoleto Festival USA, Princeton Festival Opera, Long Island Opera, and New York Lyric Opera Theater, among many others.

On the concert stage, Dr. Sierra has performed works such as Bernstein's Songfest, Schumann’s Spanisches Liederspiel, Britten’s Les Illuminations, Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Brahms’s Liebeslieder Walzer, Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, and Schubert’s Mass in G. Recent engagements include singing the tenor solo in Bjerring’s Song of the Salish Chief at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center and performing a song recital that highlights some of the contributions of Latinx and Hispanic composers at Lewis-Clark State College as part of a residency. In 2018, he was invited to perform mélodies by Henri Duparc at the College Music Society Pacific Northwest Regional Conference. Read full bio here.


Professor Kirsten Gunlogson, Visiting Associate Professor 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 here.


Guest Judges

James Caraher

James Caraher (Conductor/Pianist) began his career as a rehearsal accompanist for Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY.  Within a few years, he held the position of Music Director for the opera companies of Syracuse, NY, Memphis, TN, and Indianapolis, IN, and was a frequent guest conductor for many other regional opera companies, including Nashville Opera, New Jersey Opera, Opera Saratoga, and The Opera Company of Philadelphia.  Since his departure from Indianapolis Opera after 33 years in April of 2014, he now devotes his time to guest conducting, coaching, recital accompanying, and teaching.  He is currently Music Director for the Opera Program at Butler University in Indianapolis, and Artistic Director/Conductor for The International Opera Performing Experience, a summer opera-language program located in Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy, and has been the principal guest conductor for the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in Lakeland, Florida for the past 20 years.


Danielle SteeleDanielle Cozart Steele

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.  She is a published author on topics concerning transgender students in music. Danielle serves on the faculty of IU East, directing the IU East Richmond Chorale, teaching private voice and conducting. 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 social-justice-centered women’s chorus. Ms. Cozart Steele works with the Dayton Correctional Institute for Women prison chorus, Hope for Harmony, alongside MUSE founder Dr. Cathy Roma. Ms. Cozart Steele places priority on featuring women’s and minoritized voices in her classroom and music programming. Her choirs have toured extensively regionally as well as performing in Chicago, St. Louis, New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C. 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.




Contact: Dana Zenobi, DMA at