CU Denver Alumni Join Forces With Current Vocal Students to Secure New Vocal Performance Endowment
The November 16, 2023 concert saw 23 alumni perform on the King Center Concert Hall's stage once more to a packed audience of fellow of alumni, loved ones, current students, faculty, and community members.Megan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Jan 4, 2024
In November, 23 alumni of the College of Arts & Media (CAM) made their way back to the Auraria campus to do something many of them hadn’t done since graduating: Delight audience members as they performed in the King Center Concert Hall. Their concert had the added benefit of ensuring scholarships for future CAM vocal students in perpetuity.
"It was so moving to reconnect with these former students; so many of them spoke about how vital singing in one of our a cappella groups was to them during their college experience as a music major. It was such a joy to get to bring them together again and see them re-find the magic and community that singing together brings, there really is nothing else like it," says Erin Hackel Hauger, DMA, founder of two award-winning a cappella groups at CU Denver and who served as interim chair of the Music & Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) department during fall 2023. Hauger, who was taught at CU Denver for 20 years, spent the action-packed evening catching up with former students and meeting their significant others in between coordinating the sets of the concert.
The Alumni A Cappella concert, performed on November 16th, showcased current students and alumni of MEIS. Concertgoers were wowed by three ensembles composed of current MEIS students—Lark, the 9th Street Singers, and CU Denver Voices. Last year, Lark traveled to Boston to compete at BOSS, a popular annual vocal competition. The group won Best Lead Vocalist (vocal student Hannah Whitehead) and Best Sound Design. In 2022, they were named Runner Up in Best Upper Voices Collegiate category by the Acappella Video Awards for their performance of “Bad Crown.” Lark’s award-winning streak spans back to 2015 and includes a recognition from a wide variety of national competitions.
MIX, an ensemble consisting exclusively of alumni, re-grouped for the evening to recreate the magic of their award-winning tenure at CU Denver. The group boasts titles such as Champions, Best Lead Vocalist, and 1st place positions at BOSS as well as titles from international competitions. Both MIX and Lark have released albums (“Edifice” and “Migration,” respectively). Now, alumni of MIX and Lark are strewn across the U.S., each having pursued their talent for vocal performance in various capacities—some of them having translated the lessons and perseverance they learned at CU Denver into non-musical careers.
Concertgoers Push the Tashiro A Cappella Fund to Endowment Level
Besides providing amazing a cappella music for those in attendance, the concert also had the goal of ensuring the excellent vocal training CU Denver provides continues indefinitely. Audience members were asked to contribute to the Tashiro A Cappella fund, which was just shy of reaching endowment status. During the concert, audience members (both in-person and those tuning in via livestream) contributed over the $5,000 needed, which means the funds will be available to distribute as scholarships starting in fiscal year 2025.
The endowment will benefit vocal students who are either just starting their studies at CU Denver or are nearing graduation. Past recipients include alumni Michelle Ghun and John Paul Sharp, who performed at the concert and shared about their experience in CAM and in a cappella groups specifically, during a brief Q&A session. Two current students, Lauren Podjun and Alexi Peterson, also recipients of scholarships, shared the impact financial support has had on their ability to continue their vocal studies.
CAM currently offers two scholarships specifically geared toward vocal students: The Donna Bogard Scholarship in Voice and the MIX A Capella Scholarship. The Tashiro A Cappella fund will generate a third scholarship the college will be able to offer to vocal students.
It's Not Too Late to Donate!
It’s not too late to contribute to the Tashiro A Cappella fund and thereby increase the amount the college is able to distribute in scholarships. CAM also offers scholarships for the other areas of study offered in the college, such as Visual Arts and Film & Television. Please donate today.