Assistant professor of music, Loralee Songer, recently became a victor of 2021 The American Prize in Vocal Performance – Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award.
The award memorializes Virginia Schorr, an educator of studio voice for half a century at the Manhattan School of Music and the Hartt School of Music. The award also recognizes Friedrich Schorr and memorializes him as the most outstanding Wagnerian baritone of his era, working in between the World Wars.
This prize gives recognition to only the best of the classically trained vocalists in America. Songer happens to be one of them.
The prize is a prestigious award that involves rounds of national competitions in performing arts where performers get evaluated by well-known performing artists. Winners also receive a cash prize.
Songer said she started her music pursuit as a shy girl with a lack of confidence. It was not until the transition to college that she recognized that the support she received from her former choir teachers was authentic. As a result, she grew in self-recognition that her voice was one of her greatest assets.
After her confidence grew, her new educational pursuit developed based on music and vocal performance. Songer started her college education at Taylor University and transferred to Ball State University where she was encouraged to obtain a doctorate. She later attended graduate school, and she became a music educator.
After graduate school, at 26 years old, the people involved in Songer’s life suggested that she should apply and send her resume to a significant share of potential jobs.
While attending her first voice and choir job, Songer recognized her personal need and desire to conduct and sing. As her passion grew for conducting, she requested to teach a course on it.
Songer believes conducting is a very significant skill for musicians to have. She holds conducting as a high value on the list of skills she has, saying it has made her more marketable in her industry.
Additionally, Songer cites three additional vocal performers who she believes are underrated. She highlights them in her book, “Songs of the Second Viennese School: A Performer's Guide to Selected Solo Vocal Works,” which informs its audience about the importance of selected solo vocal works by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern.
In a press release from Taylor published this summer, Tom Jones, interim provost, praised Songer’s abilities as both a performer and professor.
“Dr. Loralee Songer is an exceptional artist and professor who is committed to the pursuit of excellence as a vocalist and a classroom/studio teacher,” said Jones. “It comes as no surprise to Dr. Songer’s colleagues and students that she is a recipient of an award that evaluates, recognizes, and rewards the best performers in the country, and we are grateful that she is part of our outstanding Music, Theatre and Dance Department.”