Twelve Mercer Students Place in Statewide Singing Competition

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

MACON – A dozen students in Mercer University's Townsend School of Music placed at the Georgia National Association of Teachers of Singing (GA-NATS) annual statewide auditions at Georgia State University Nov. 7-8. A total of 20 Mercer students competed in the event, which drew entrants from 45 colleges.

Mercer junior Betty Cantrell was named the overall winner of the Junior Women's division. Cantrell placed first in classical singing and second in college musical theatre. In 2013, she also won the statewide first-place award in her category. She is the current Miss Warner Robins and plans to compete in Miss Georgia 2015 this summer.  

The 12 students who placed in the competition include Betsy Swanson (student of Senior Lecturer Marie Jarriel Roberts); Joy Mote, Clay Mote, Jennifer Olenic, Rachel Snapp and Dominique Williams (students of Associate Professor Richard Kosowski); Abbie Paris, Mary Lathem, James Varghese, Kate Kasmier, Barbara Martinez and Cantrell (students of Professor Martha Malone).

“All of us on the music faculty are very proud of these young singers whose hard work and artistry represent the Townsend School with such a high level of excellence. Their success is firm evidence of the talent level and commitment of Mercer music students,” said Malone. “It's exciting to see their artistic growth and development recognized publicly.”

The competition consisted of students from high school to graduate school and adult singers performing several song selections to show contrasting styles and languages in two categories: classical and music theatre. All the students in the classical singing auditions were required to sing in at least two languages: Italian, English, French or German. By their junior year, they must sing in all four languages.

About Townsend School of Music

Mercer University's Townsend School of Music, the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies offer undergraduate and graduate professional music studies in a comprehensive university environment. Townsend is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities. The McDuffie Center, a special institute within Townsend School of Music, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of America's most renowned string musicians, receiving music instruction of conservatory quality, while earning an academically well-rounded education from a comprehensive, nationally recognized university. For more information and a complete listing of this season's concerts, please visit or call (478) 301-5751.