The Young Artists Vocal Competition was held at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Jefferson
Davis Campus, on Saturday, October 28, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus for
the eighth year, this event is designed to encourage young singers of classical music through scholarships and
the opportunity to participate in the singing of Handel’s Messiah with the chorus, perpetuating this
outstanding choral tradition on the Mississippi Gulf Coast started 67 years ago by Dr. Glenn Draper.
This year’s competition featured five contestants, ages 15 - 22. Each contestant prepared a solo from
Handel’s Messiah which they sang before an audience and a panel of judges. Judges for this year’s event
were Dr. Paul McGahie, Music Director of the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus, Dr. Debra Atkinson, director
of Choral Activities at MGCCC - JD, and YAVC Committee members and local music teachers, Lucille
Harrington and Roseanne Johnson-Fazo . Guy Bowering, Jr. served as accompanist. The
contestants were awarded $2600 in scholarships which they will use for their educational goals or to
further their musical training. Some of the contestants were selected to perform their solos for the Messiah
performance on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Pass Christian.
The YAVC Committee thanks all of our generous SCHOLARSHIP DONORS! Thanks to the
Bacot-McCarty Foundation for their $1000 grant. Thanks to those who donated to the Dr. Glenn
Draper Memorial Scholarship this year: Joyce Edwards, Ed Cake, Mac Canaga, Jim Foster,
Debby Levy, Carol Mahler, Leffi Malloy, Donna and Pete Snell, Lynda Steele, Marcie Wilson, and an anonymous donor . Thanks to MGCCC-JD for hosting the competition event.
Contestants this year were:
Anna Grace Young
A fifteen year old student at St. Patrick High School who has performed in musical theater productions since she was in fifth grade. She has sung in the school liturgical choir since seventh grade and is now in choir class. Anna Grace enjoys performing solos and has had opportunities to sing in her school talent shows, lead roles in theater productions, as well as “The Star Spangled Banner” on numerous occasions. Anna Grace received a $200 scholarship at the YAVC where she sang O Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion. Anna Grace was also voted “The Audience’s Favorite Singer” for which she was awarded a $100 scholarship!
A student at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jeff Davis Campus where she studies with Dr. Debra Atkinson and sings in the Concert Choir and Coastal Vibrations. Amanda received earlier vocal instruction from Melinda Jones and Jacqueline Coale. While a student at Gulfport High School, “Mandy” was a member of the prestigious Madrigal Singers and was chosen to participate in All-State Honor Choir all four years. She has sung with the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Civic Chorale. She was awarded a $500 scholarship and will be singing the alto recitative, Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Open, and aria, He Shall Feed His Flock Like A Shepherd.
Olivia Reaves Alarcon
A senior at Our Lady Academy. Passionate about music, Olivia presently studies voice with Khara Molsbee, focusing on classical, operatic and musical theater repertoire. She has studied piano for eleven years. Olivia shares her gift of singing at Holy Family Catholic Church and at her school. She participated in Classical Singer Magazine’s competition in Chicago and placed in the top 100 singers out of 3,000 contestants. This is Olivia’s second year as a YAVC soloist. She will sing the four soprano recitatives, There were shepherds abiding in the fields... and the aria, Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion. We are proud to announce that Olivia is the first recipient of the Dr. Glenn Draper Memorial Scholarship of $700. This scholarship will be given on an annual basis in grateful and loving memory of the Messiah Chorus founder, Glenn Draper (1929-2019).
A student at MGCCC-Jeff Davis Campus working towards an Associate Degree in Music with a concentration in Vocal Performance. Grace has loved performing since she was a young child. She has studied with John Westley Hodges, Khara Molsbee, and now Dr. Debra Atkinson. While in high school, she participated in a Classical Vocalists Competition. Grace has also sung under J.T. Anglin’s direction in the coast’s first liturgical opera. She states that she feels “most alive” when she is singing and plans to continue studying and pursuing her passion. Grace was awarded a $500 scholarship and was selected to perform her solo, Come unto Him.
A senior at Gulfport High School where he sings in the school choirs, including the Madrigal Singers and a Barbershop Quartet. Breck has sung in choirs at school and church since he was a child. In addition to music, Breck has a love of baseball. He plans to attend MGCCC in the fall, where he will play ball. After receiving an associate degree, he hopes to attend USM where he will study polymer science, continuing to sing and study music. He enjoyed singing with the Messiah Chorus last year and looks forward to performing the solos, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts and But Who may abide the Day of His coming? Breck received a $600 YAVC scholarship.
During the competition, young instrumentalists performed “interludes” between the soloists as the judges were writing their critiques of the singers and deciding the winners of scholarships and solos. We are thankful to Carol Mahler, YAVC committee member and GCMC Board member, for coordinating the instrumentalists and for her accompaniment of several of the violinists. Thanks to Jade Agler, Isaiah Way, Cecelia Escobedo, Natalia Escobedo and Ms. Angela Hsu for providing the musical interludes.