Vocal Competition

The Sarofim Vocal Competition encourages excellence in solo vocal performance. It is an opportunity for high school singers to learn through master classes and workshops. It also provides them the opportunity to connect with college students pursuing music careers.  

Saturday, December 2, 2017
Registration is closed. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, email Dr. Dana Zenobi.

First Prize $500
Second Prize $300
Third Prize $200
Encouragement Award - $100
Finalists - $50
Eligibility & Fees

The Sarofim Vocal Competition is open to all high school age singers. Participants must be U.S. citizens or green card holders. Winners will be required to fill out a W-9 form and provide a social security number to receive prize money. Participation in the Sarofim Vocal Competition does not affect students’ eligibility for UIL or TMEA contests.  There is a $40 application fee, which covers the services of our faculty collaborative pianist.  Students may also bring their own pianists if desired.

Repertoire Requirements

Singers must perform THREE SELECTIONS from memory. Selections must meet the following criteria:

  • At least one of your three pieces must be in English.
  • At least one of your three pieces must be in a foreign language.
  • Your repertoire must include at least two classical style pieces (art songs or arias). The third selection can (but does not have to) be a musical theater piece.

One original score (or legally purchased pdf) of each selection must be provided to the judges. Printed copies of public domain music are acceptable.

  • If you don’t find your answer here, please contact us and we’ll get you an answer quickly.

    Do I need to bring a pianist?

    No. David Utterback, a member of the Southwestern University piano faculty will play for each singer. There will be a time to discuss your tempi and interpretive choices with him just before you sing.

    Can I bring my own pianist?

    Yes. Singers will be allowed to bring their own pianist if they so choose. 

    Are practice rooms available?

    Yes. There will be several practice rooms reserved for Sarofim Vocal Competition participants.

    What time do I need to be there?

    We suggest arriving at least 45 minutes before your scheduled performance time, so that you have time to warm up and prepare. Please be in the theater 15 minutes before your scheduled time.

    Can I change my repertoire?

    Yes. You may change your repertoire up until the performance time. Please email changes to What should I wear? Dress like you would for a job interview or audition. Young women’s attire should cover knees and shoulders. Closed-toed shoes are recommended. Young men can wear suits or shirts and ties or jackets. Formal attire is not required, and casual dress is not recommended.

    Is there a parking fee?

    No. There is ample free parking on campus right next to the Sarofim School of Fine Arts.

    Do I need to send music ahead of time?

    No. Bring your music in a binder with tempi, interpretive choices, cadenzas, and cuts clearly marked. Bring one original score (or legally purchased pdf) of each song for the judges.

    Can my parents, family, or teacher watch me perform?

    Yes. The competition is free and open to the public. Can I record my performance? No. Audio and video recording and photography are not allowed during the competition. Participants will have a chance to take photographs on the stage after the competition.

    Is lunch provided?

    No. There is a campus cafeteria just a short walk away and several good restaurant options in Georgetown.

    Are accommodations provided?

    No. Singers must find their own accommodations if staying overnight.

    Whom do I contact for other questions?

    Dana Zenobi, DMA Assistant Professor of Voice Sarofim Vocal Competition Director

  • “This competition was very well organized and well run. What I liked about it was that the judges gave the Master Class and were available to talk to me. It felt like they wanted us to do well. It felt less like a competition and more like we were just there to sing for each other. Overall, the focus was on each singer’s individual improvement.” 

    “I’ve participated in a lot of vocal competitions and attended a lot of masterclasses in the last three years, but I can honestly say that none have been as enlightening or as helpful as the Sarofim Vocal Competition. The judges’ feedback was exceptionally helpful and it was obvious the judges cared about each participant’s vocal and artist development. The resume workshop and Dana Zenobi’s assistance in reworking my resume was beyond helpful and learning about the Alexander Technique helped me realize I have been tipping my chin upward about a inch or two and I and my voice teacher had never realized it! Not only did the whole competition run right on schedule, but thanks to the judges’ feedback and genuine interest from the directors of the competition, I learned a lot about myself and my vocal technique that I could take away with me and grow.” 

    “It was my first time, and I learned a lot about these kind of auditions. The master class was wonderful and a fun way for students to explore their voices with professional guidance. It was definitely worthwhile and I hope to participate again next year!” 

    “My students really enjoyed hearing other students their own age to see what other kids are doing and what level they are at. The parents loved interacting with the students and staff, who they found to be very helpful and encouraging.”

  • For Additional Questions Contact:
    Dana Zenobi, DMA
    Assistant Professor of Voice
    Sarofim Vocal Competition Director