Entry deadline approaching for UO Pop Voice competition

Souvagini Paul

The School of Music and Dance will hold its second annual UO Pop Voice showcase and competition this term.

The live showcase, which is free and open to the public, will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. and will be judged by a panel of industry professionals and a UO music faculty member in the music school’s Aasen-Hull Hall.

The competition is open to any current UO student. Students may enter the prescreening round by submitting a vocal performance video via YouTube link through the online application.

To be considered, video submissions must be under four minutes and the vocal selection must be a cover; it cannot be an original song. The song in the prescreening video must be performed with the accompanying instrumental track.

Finalists who are selected for the live showcase will perform the song from the prescreening video with a live house band. The deadline to submit a video for the preliminary round is Friday, Oct. 19.

The UO Pop Voice competition is a co-curricular event with the popular music studies major at the School of Music and Dance.

“Since singing is such a central part of popular music, having an event that focuses on it is very important to popular music students,” said Toby Koenigsberg, associate professor of music. “In addition, the fact that visiting judges give voice lessons to popular music majors while in residence is immensely valuable to them.”

Koenigsberg teamed up with colleagues Brian McWhorter, associate professor of music, and Grace Ho, director of the school’s Professional Development Series, to create the professional development opportunity for aspiring commercial music performers. McWhorter, who was on the judging panel last year, will emcee this year’s event.

The inaugural UO Pop Voice winner, music major Souvagini Paul, says she hopes to make it in the music industry and perform. To her, the experience of UO Pop Voice was significant and relevant; she said she especially liked working with the judges.

Last year, the UO Pop Voice panelists included Hollywood film composer Philip Giffin and studio singer Karen Blake. This year, the music industry pros on the panel are recording artist Amick Byram, a two-time Grammy nominee known for “Prince of Egypt,” “Shrek,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules” and “Mulan”; and actress and singer Cassandra Byram, whose credits include “Time Changer” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

The Byrams, who are husband and wife, will join UO voice professor Milagro Vargas on the panel of judges.