UNCG Choir in Europe

World Travelers: UNCG Choral Students Tour Europe

Young said that he had two major goals when putting the tour and subsequently the concert repertoire together.

“The first goal was to provide an opportunity for UNCG singers to experience the breadth, beauty, and diversity of areas steeped in an amazing musical history.

“The second goal addresses my own personal beliefs. First, the belief that quality music, particularly vocal/choral music, performed beautifully has a transformative power that speaks beyond the brain to a more personal and heart/spirit-centered place where healing and understanding resides. Second, the belief that participation in the arts, particularly choral singing, should be a lifelong endeavor. So, I set out to build the ensemble not only with UNCG singers but with community singers who also celebrate the joy of singing.”

Thirty UNCG singers were joined by 12 community singers, the latter from First Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir, Bel Canto Company, retired choral music educators, and the Winston-Salem Chorale.

The repertoire was a slice of choral music from America and the British Isles. Examples of primitive nasal community singing, shape-note singing, folk-songs, gospel, hymn-tune arrangements and spirituals were woven together with motets influenced by the European masters of the Renaissance.

“Every concert was standing room only,” Young said. “The audiences were enthusiastic. Each concert ended with either a standing ovation or rhythmic applause – asking for an encore piece.”

Their full concerts:

May 7, St. Nicholas Church on the Square, Prague, Czech Republic
May 10, St. Peter’s Church, Vienna, Austria
May 12, St. Sigismund Church, Stroble, Austria (lake country outside of Salzburg)

Informal Half Concerts:

May 10, Melk Abbey outside of Vienna
May 12, The Dom Cathedral in Old Town Salzburg

Conductors and Guest Artists:

Welborn E. Young, Director of Choral Activities
Carole Ott Coelho, Associate Director of Choral Activities
Brett Nolker, Director of Choral Music Education
Jonathan Emmons, DMA Choral Conducting, candidate
Christian Albee, MM Choral Conducting (’18)
Tadeu Coelho, flute
Adam Ward, organ

(Christian and Jonathan also served as accompanists.)

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baraka-ongeri portrait


With just nine days until May Commencement, you can feel the graduation jitters.

Spartans are putting last-minute touches on their cap designs, cramming for final exams and flocking to College Avenue to take photos in their graduation garb.

UNC Greensboro senior Baraka Ongeri is one of more than 2,700 Spartans set to graduate next Friday, and one of three seniors who will be highlighted on the UNCG website in the coming week.

He’s an acting student, a future New Yorker, a board game player and an amateur musician. You may recognize him from UNCG’s production of “Antigone” in the fall, or from Triad Stage’s rendition of “A Raisin in the Sun” just a couple months ago.

Ongeri recently shared about his experience in the UNCG School of Theatre and his plans for the future. Below are some highlights from the conversation.

Read more at UNCGNow
Marriage of Figaro characters

Alumna Gretchen Krupp Grand Finalist in Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions

For Opera in America you can’t hit any higher note than the Metropolitan Opera stage.

And that is exactly where Gretchen Krupp, BM ’15, will stand on Sunday, as a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Krupp is just one of 9 singers, chosen from across the country and Canada through a series of district and regional competitions, to audition at Lincoln Center.  Accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, she will perform before a sell-out audience that will include opera company director and agents.

The experience means high-level exposure in the profession, with invaluable career connections.   Gretchen has made it through preliminary rounds twice before, and she says this is something she’s dreamed about since watching the MET documentary, The Audition.

Gretchen and Carla-Met
Gretchen with Carla Lefevre

“It was kind of like a “backstage view” of the competition, and I found it to be incredibly inspiring!  My first two times, I made it to the Regional and received an Encouragement Award both times. This year I moved on and well, you know what they say, third time’s a charm!”

Krupp, a Mezzo Soprano, says she knew UNCG was the right place for her, from the moment she met Dr. Carla LeFevre, Professor of Voice. “The right teacher is crucial for your vocal development. I had a lesson with Dr. LeFevre and knew immediately that she was the right fit. I also loved the fact that UNCG put on multiple opera productions each year. I got very lucky and performed multiple roles by the time I left. This helped me immensely going into my Masters degree at Indiana University and beyond!

While at UNCG, she performed in over 10 operas, including UNCG’s 2014 production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and the inaugural season of Greensboro Light Opera and Song’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.

And on Sunday, she’ll perform the role of a lifetime-  that of a Grand Finalist on the Metropolitan Opera stage.

“It’s been so incredible being at The Met this week. Everyone is so supportive. No matter what happens on Sunday, I already feel like a winner.” 

Brava Gretchen!  UNCG is cheering for you.

This year UNCG had a total of 4 district winners in the MET Opera Auditions.  In addition to Gretchen Krupp, the university also congratulates:

  • Matthew Reese, MM ’13, current DMA candidate, student of Robert Bracey:  two-time District Winner
  • Lyndsey Swann, MM ‘17, student of Clara O’Brien:  first-time District Winner
  • Shelley Mihm, MM, ’17, student of Carla LeFevre,: two-time District Winner
  • Megan Callahan, BM ‘16 student of Carla LeFevre: District Encouragement Award

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions take place in 42 Districts and 12 Regions throughout the US and Canada.  Started in 1954, the annual competition has helped launch some of opera’s greatest stars.  Some notable past winners include Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens and Frederica von Stade.

Clarinetist Andy Hudson Appointed to School of Music Faculty

The UNCG School of Music is pleased to announce that clarinetist Andy Hudson has been appointed to the School of Music Faculty as Instructor of Clarinet.

UNCG is an incredible school of music, and I’m simply delighted to be coming on board with their remarkable clarinet studio,” said Hudson. “I will have the opportunity to join a long lineage of excellent clarinetists who have taught at the school, and will be working alongside and in tandem with clarinet guru Anthony Taylor.”

Performances by Hudson have been hailed as “a treat for the listener” and praised for “an uncommon singularity of purpose, technical virtuosity, youthful vigor and a mature sensitivity.” Several of his performances have been broadcast on WFMT Chicago, including his 2011 performance of Scott McAllister’s Black Dog as soloist with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

A noted interpreter of contemporary music, Andy has premiered and commissioned dozens of works to date and was a presenter at the 2017 New Music Gathering. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on their MusicNOW series, with Ensemble Dal Niente, and at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Eastman School of Music, and Constellation Chicago. An avid chamber player, Andy is clarinetist with dynamic mixed-chamber ensemble Latitude 49, and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2017 as a member of the trio F-PLUS. He also performs regularly with The Zafa Collective, earspace, and 10th & Broadway, and has appeared with a.pe.ri.od.ic. In 2017, Andy performed across Switzerland and Germany as a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra under the baton of Matthias Pintscher.

Andy holds degrees from Northwestern University and Columbus State University. His primary teachers have included Steve Cohen, J. Lawrie Bloom, and Lisa Oberlander.

Originally from Atlanta, Andy currently lives in the Chicago area with his wife Brittany and their two great kids. When he’s not practicing, Andy enjoys bicycling, running, reading, playing guitar, eating local food, and acquiring obscure instruments.

Read More About Andy Hudson

Alumna Gretchen Krupp (BM ’15) Named Grand Finalist in Met Auditions

The UNCG School of Music is pleased to announce that alumna Gretchen Krupp (BM ’15) is a Grand Finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and will compete on Sunday, April 29 in New York City at Lincoln Center.

Krupp, a mezzo-soprano, is just one of 9 singers chosen through a series of district and regional competitions taking place in 42 Districts and 12 Regions throughout the United States and Canada. Started in 1954, The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. Some notable past winners include Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens and Frederica von Stade.

While at UNCG, Gretchen studied voice with Dr. Carla LeFevre and performed in many Opera Theatre productions including Hansel and Gretel, The Marriage of Figaro, and the inaugural season of Greensboro Light Opera and Song. She later attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she earned a Masters degree and is currently earning a Performer Diploma.

The National Auditions Semi-Finals and Grand Finals Concert take place at the Metropolitan Opera each spring. At that time, the regional winners are brought to New York for musical preparation under the guidance of the Met’s music staff. They then audition with piano before members of the staff. Those not selected as National Finalists will receive a cash award of $1,500.

All National Finalists will receive $5,000 and remain in residence at the Met for another week while continuing to coach with the artistic staff in preparation for the Grand Finals Concert with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

During this final audition, they will compete before a public audience and a distinguished panel of judges for awards in the amount of $15,000. All travel and housing for participants at the national level are paid for and arranged by the Metropolitan Opera National Council.

This year, UNCG had a total of 4 district winners in the Met Opera Auditions. In addition to Gretchen Krupp, the university also congratulates:

  • Matthew Reese (MM ’13), current DMA candidate, student of Robert Bracey, two-time District Winner
  • Lyndsey Swann (MM ‘17), student of Clara O’Brien, first-time District Winner
  • Shelley Mihm (MM ’17), student of Carla LeFevre, two-time District Winner
  • Megan Callahan (BM ‘16) student of Carla LeFevre, District Encouragement Award