A! Magazine for the Arts

Local opera singer receives recognition

January 14, 2014

Weber City, VA – Tatum Spears, soprano, received an honor in Charlotte, N.C., recently. She auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera National Council (North Carolina district). The MONC was founded in 1952 on the premise of discovering aspiring young opera singers from around the country. Spears was one of 36 hopefuls and was among the youngest contestants. Three winners were chosen, and four encouragement awards were given. Spears received the Frances Shafter Recognition award.

"I am honestly in shock," Spears says. "I was the second-youngest singer in this competition, and after hearing all of the amazing talent, I thought I would walk away empty-handed. I feel so honored and blessed to be chosen for this award. I can't wait to audition again next year."

Spears performed two arias for the three judges: Dominic Cossa, chair, opera voice division, University of Maryland School of Music; Anthony Dean Griffey, Metropolitan Opera tenor; and Gayletha Nichols, executive director, Metropolitan Opera National Council.

Spears is from Weber City, Va. She is a senior at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tenn., where she is studying vocal performance under Dr. Sun-Joo Oh. She will graduate from ETSU in May with a Bachelor of Music degree. Spears is a member and section leader of the ETSU Chorale and the ETSU Opera Workshop. Later this month, she is competing in the MTNA Young Artist Voice Division Competition in Louisville, Ky.