NEW ALBANY, IN, (April 5, 2012) – The Music Department at Indiana University Southeast is pleased to announce the Geoffrey Hutton has won the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition (Kentucky regional chapter) in the Senior Men's division.
Hutton, vocal performance major and student of IU Southeast adjunct instructor of voice, Aaron Lundy, competed in the competition along with students from the mid-south region representing universities in Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
During the two-day competition, Hutton was called on to perform "Spirto Gentil" from Donizetti's LA FAVORITA, "Oh! quand je dors" by Franz Liszt, "Money, O!" by Michael Head, and "Aus alten Marchen winkt es" from Robert Schumann's song cycle, DICHTERLIEBE.
By most benchmarks, Hutton, 23, came to vocal performance in a delayed and unconventional way.
"Ever since I was a child, music was the only thing I ever really wanted to do," said Hutton. "I started violin lessons and playing in orchestras when I was 10 years old. When I got to high school I started taking voice lessons and participating in choir/musical theater as well. I tried to make music a part of my life in every way I could."
"For years, I thought I was going to study violin performance when I finally went to college. Unfortunately, my violin instructor, Mary Clem, passed away when I was a junior in high school. I tried studying with other teachers, but I just couldn't find anyone I enjoyed working with as much as her," Hutton recounted.
After graduating from New Albany High School, Hutton was accepted to the University Louisville School of Music as a candidate for a B.A. in Music, but not for vocal performance. "They felt that I was not quite up to the standard they expect from vocal performance majors," said Hutton. "Considering my lack of experience with formal voice lessons, I accepted this and decided that I could always re-audition when I had gained some more experience."
While studying at U of L, Geoff received encouragement from a music theory professor. After taking some composition lessons, Hutton changed his major to music composition. "A few weeks into the next fall semester, I started to feel that my compositional skills were limited and had already been exhausted. This, on top of a number of other things that were going on at the time, made me feel frustrated and I started to question whether or not I should continue to study music."
Somewhat disheartened, Hutton decided to transfer to IU Southeast as an undeclared major, focusing on fulfilling general education requirements while continuing the search for his niche. "After three semesters of that, I noticed that the one thing each of my semesters at IUS had in common was that I always had at least one class that involved music. I looked into the Music Department and thought it might be fun as well as useful to major in Sound Engineering. I applied to the program, auditioned, and was accepted," he recalled.
For the following two semesters, Hutton proceeded as a Sound Engineering major in addition to taking voice lessons and singing in the IU Southeast Concert Choir. Said Hutton, "Some parts of [studying sound engineering] were very useful to my studies, but similar to my attempt at majoring in composition, I ended up feeling like it wasn't really for me."
It was at that time that Hutton began studying voice with his current teacher, Aaron Lundy. "Since he arrived, I think Professor Lundy has had the biggest impact on my academic life. I spoke to him one day about the possibility of majoring in vocal performance at IUS since I had been unable to do it at U of L, and he actually seemed surprised to hear that I had been told I could never be a vocal performance major. With his help and encouragement, I changed my major – for the last time – to vocal performance."
With his win at the NATS competition, Hutton's arrival at vocal performance - albeit in a roundabout way - has been validated.
Contemplating his future endeavors, Hutton said, "From here I hope to go on and pursue a master's degree in choral conducting. I have taken conducing lessons with our choir director, Dr. Mariana Farah, and she thinks that I show promise as a conductor. I am currently looking at potential graduate programs and she has graciously agreed to help me prepare for those auditions."