Arts & Culture

Aspiring Youth Sing for More than Their Supper

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2011) − Now considered the largest scholastic opera competition in the world, the sixth annual Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition is expected to draw a record number of top young singers from as far away as Brazil and Europe with more than $300,000 in prizes, including full scholarships to the University of Kentucky. The curtain will rise on this prestigious vocal competition 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Featured awards at the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition include Alltech Graduate Prizes and two major vocal awards for undergraduate students. The Alltech Graduate Prizes are:
1st Place - $10,000 cash prize plus a full graduate assistantship to UK and a $10,000 stipend; and 
- 2nd Place - $7,500 cash prize plus a full graduate assistantship to UK and a $10,000 stipend.  

The major vocal awards for undergraduate students are:
-1st Place - $5,000 cash prize plus a matching tuition waiver from UK; and
- 2nd Place - $2,500 cash prize sponsored by Bryant's Rent-All, plus a matching tuition waiver from UK. 

The Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition is open to new voice students who plan on attending UK School of Music beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year. The singers must complete an application to the university by the time of their audition and be selected from their audition to compete for the scholarship. They must also be acceptable for admission to the university and enrolled as a full-time student during the 2011-2012 academic year to receive an award. The 2011 Alltech Opera Scholarship Competition will be judged by a panel of professionals in the field of opera from all over the U.S. 

The Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition has been credited as a major contributor to the growth of the University of Kentucky’s opera program.

"The Alltech Competition has placed the UK opera program in the top 10 opera programs in the country," said Everett McCorvey, director of UK Opera Theatre. "The UK opera program was recently given front page recognition in the recent world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s new opera 'God Bless Us Everyone,' which premiered in New York in a co-production with DiCapo Opera Theatre of New York.”

To hear Cliff Jackson talk about the importance of the Alltech Vocal Scholaship Competition, watch the video below.

To view a transcript of this video, click the attachment below the photo viewer.  

Interestingly, the competition has not only resulted in professional success for its winners but also humanitarian involvement. When Eric Brown stood on the Singletary Center stage as the 2006 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition winner, he had no idea he’d be on that same stage four years later leading a choir of nearly two dozen Haitian boys and girls as part of a benefit concert featuring The Chieftains and Ronan Tynan.

Within 48 hours of Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January 2010, Alltech President Pearse Lyons was on the ground, assessing ways in which his company could be involved in rebuilding the country. One of the ideas that quickly emerged was to connect the UK music program and the children of a small Haitian village Ouanaminthe. Brown, Manuel Castillo and other students soon began a musical journey in Haiti that would lead to the Haitian Harmony children’s choir performing in the Opening Ceremonies of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games – proving to the world that Haiti’s spirit had not been broken.

"I'll never forget our 2007 winner, Reginald Smith, who rode a Greyhound bus all night from Atlanta with nothing but his suit, a toothbrush, and a song,” said Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. "Full tuition and a cash prize will change a life, but what’s even more amazing to me is the element of inspiration instilled in the winner, which they then feel compelled to share with others."

To see former winner and UK senior Reginald Smith Jr. talk about the competition, watch the video below. 

To view a transcript of this video, click the attachment below the photo viewer. Video courtesy of Alltech.

The public is encouraged to enjoy and support the dreams of these aspiring vocalists by attending the competition. A celebration reception will immediately follow the competition and feature Alltech Cafe Citadelle, the company’s fair-trade coffee from Haiti, for Haiti.

Founded by Pearse Lyons, Alltech is a global animal health and nutrition company with 30 years’ experience in developing natural products that are scientifically proven to enhance animal health and performance. With more than 2300 employees in 120 countries, the company has developed a strong regional presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle-East, Africa and Asia. 

Co-sponsors for the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition include Bryant's Rent-All and Lexington Opera Society.

Since 1953, Bryant's Rent-All has been serving Central Kentucky's special events and equipment needs. They are a family-owned business now in their third generation. Bryant's Rent-All is the sponsor of the $2,500 Second Prize Undergraduate award presented at the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition.

The mission of the Lexington Opera Society is to enhance the general public's awareness and appreciation of opera in central Kentucky and throughout the Commonwealth, primarily through support of opera program at UK and the continuation of its educational and public programs. The Lexington Opera Society is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting opera in the Bluegrass and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre.

For more information on the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition, contact UK Opera Theatre at (859) 257-9331 or visit the competition online on the UK School of Music Web site at

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-1754 ext. 229;