UAB Music students win honors, scholarships

Hemminger, a tenor and aspiring composer, and Valencia Callens, a soprano, have won awards based on their performances and merit.

music_winner_webUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Music students Jake Preston Hemminger and Valencia Callens earned honors and awards in March.  

Hemminger, a junior from Montgomery, was recognized as one of five students from Alabama to receive a full scholarship at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference in Dallas, Texas, March 13-16, 2013. Hemminger was chosen from a large number of qualified applicants from throughout the state based on his outstanding student record, credentials and letters of reference. He was publicly recognized as a scholarship recipient at a concert session at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. An aspiring conductor, he attended sessions with choral directors from around the country.

“The ACDA National Conference is perhaps the most prestigious conference of its kind, including performances by national and international choral ensembles, interest sessions, presentations and interactive musical activities for all participants,” said Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities Brian Kittredge, D.M.A.

A tenor, Hemminger recently won two awards at the state National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) auditions. He won first place in junior musical theater (men) and second place in junior classical (men).

Callens, a soprano, recently was named voice runner-up in the Birmingham Music Club’s Scholarship Auditions and won a $1,000 prize. Also a junior from Montgomery, Callens has sung several supporting roles in UAB Opera, including Valencienne in the recent production of “The Merry Widow” and The Housekeeper in last year’s production of “Man of La Mancha.” She has been a Dean’s Award recipient at UAB for academic excellence. She was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Alabama NATS competition.

Both singers are voice students of Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, D.M.A., and both sing under the director of Kittredge in the UAB Concert Choir.