JBU Student Luke Merrick Earns First Place in National Singing Competition

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Luke Merrick, JBU senior music major, earned first place in the Upper College/Independent Studio Men category at the National Association of Teachers of Singing 2018 National Student Auditions (NSA). Merrickā€™s entry into NSA marks the first time a JBU student has ever participated and placed nationally.

SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas (June 28, 2018) – John Brown University student Luke Merrick, senior music major, earned first place in the Upper College/Independent Studio Men category at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) 2018 National Student Auditions (NSA). While JBU’s music students regularly participate in NATS singing competitions at the state and more recently the regional level, Merrick’s entry into NSA marks the first time a JBU student has ever participated and placed nationally.

"For Luke to win at his first appearance in the national competition is beyond thrilling and is a pivotal moment in his young career as a singer," Liesl Dromi, assistant professor of music, said. "Luke’s performance represents a very high level of skill and diligent training in technique and artistry, including countless hours spent in practice, coaching and lessons. My encouragement to Luke has always been to never take his God-given talents for granted but to be the best steward of those gifts, digging deeper, working harder and aiming for a higher level of excellence. I could not be more proud of him."

NSA offers top performers, from high school to graduate school, the opportunity to compete against other top singers from around the country.

Each of the 14 regions advanced their top five singers in each category to the National Preliminary Round, where entrants submitted video of their performance. The top 14 singers in each of the 15 categories competed in the semifinal round, with only three advancing to the finals, which were held during the 2018 NATS National Conference, June 22-26, in Las Vegas. Merrick placed first over 140 students in his category, with a total earnings of $1,600 in prize money.

"The competition was just an incredible honor that legitimated all the hard work that I and my instructors have done in terms of practice and preparation," Merrick said. "I really couldn't have done it without the leadership, guidance, professional facility and sacrifice of time offered by my current voice instructor, Liesl Dromi, and my previous one, Paul Smith. They both have done so much to build technique, musicality and professionalism into my musical performance, and I am extremely grateful for them."

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

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