Hayes Wins Voices of Canton, Inc. Scholarship

May 09, 2017

Ben HayesCANTON, Ohio – Ben Hayes ’18, a bachelor of music student majoring in vocal performance from Akron, Ohio, was recently awarded the $500 Walter “Ed” McGrew Scholarship in vocal performance from Voices of Canton, Inc. (VOCI).

Hayes, a member of Mount Union’s Concert Choir and the new chamber ensemble Coro Inspirare, was one of the last students to sign up to audition, which meant he was one of the last to sing and had to listen to his competition throughout.

“I wasn't really sure what to expect before I got there but when I heard some of these students sing I thought it was going to be pretty stiff competition and I was pretty nervous at that point,” Hayes said. “I was able to stay calm and think to myself just have fun, and when I started singing, I felt comfortable and confident that I gave a good performance.”

Hayes also had the opportunity to have private lessons with vocalist and Mount Union alumnus Eduardo Valdes ’83, who is a principal artist at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He is taught locally by Mount Union adjunct professor of voice, Amanda Joyce-Abbott. 

The nerves were replaced with smiles and sighs of relief after Hayes found out that he had won the award.

“When I heard the news, I looked at my friend and collaborative artist Ian Leroy ‘14 and we shook hands and laughed together” Hayes commented. “Ian said ‘Well Ben, you netted $470 today.’ This was in reference to his $30 fee for playing the piano for me and the fact that the scholarship was $500. We had a pretty good laugh when he said that.”

Hayes plans on pursuing a Master’s degree in music performance and conducting and hopes to spend a summer in Italy studying with Valdes.

VOCI is a non-profit organization in Canton that has served Stark County for nearly 80 years. Its mission is to educate and inspire members of the community through the choral arts.

For more information about music at Mount Union, visit mountunion.edu/music.

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