2023 Classical Solo Vocal Competition



Saturday, April 15, 2023

Bothwell Chapel on the campus of McKendree University - Lebanon, Illinois

Open to all high school singers

$40 Entrance Fee





Coming soon!


Competition Repertoire Requirements:

Each singer must perform two pieces classical in nature (art song, aria, or folk song). It is preferred, but not required, to have one piece in a foreign language. Singers will perform both pieces in their entirety for the competition. Pieces must be performed by memory. A collaborative pianist will accompany singers for the competition.




1st Place - $100 cash prize and masterclass

2nd Place - $75 cash prize and masterclass

3rd Place - $50 cash prize and masterclass

Honorable Mentions - Masterclass


The masterclass will be professionally recorded and distributed to participants


All participants are welcome and encouraged to attend the masterclass


Registration Deadline: March 24 by 11:59pm

Participants must submit PDFs of their sheet music by March 31 at 11:59pm (upload instructions emailed after March 24)

Competition time will be emailed by March 31




Questions? E-mail Dr. John McDonald



Christine Brewer

Christine Brewer

McKendree University Esteemed Alumna

Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer’s appearances in opera, concert, and recital are marked by her own unique timbre, at once warm and brilliant, combined with a vibrant personality and emotional honesty reminiscent of the great sopranos of the past. Named one of the top 20 sopranos of all time (BBC Music), her range, golden tone, boundless power, and control make her a favorite of the stage and a highly sought-after recording artist, one who is “in her prime and sounding glorious” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times).

On the opera stage, Brewer is highly regarded for her striking portrayal of the title role in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, which she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Théatre du Chatelet, Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Attracting glowing reviews with each role, she has performed Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at San Francisco Opera, Gluck’s Alceste with Santa Fe Opera, the Dyer’s Wife in Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Paris Opera, and Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring at Santa Fe Opera and the Los Angeles Opera.  She created the role of Sister Aloysius in the world premiere of Doug Cuomo’s opera Doubt with the Minnesota Opera in 2013 and reprised the role in 2016 with the Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis.

Ms.  Brewer begins the 2017/2018 season with Mahler's Symphony No. 8 to open the Dresden Philharmonic season conducted by Michael Sanderling.  She sings the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Kentucky Opera before returning to the St. Louis Symphony for Berg's Seven Early Songs led by music director David Robertson.  She sings Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Symphony NH, Strauss' Four Last Songs with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and scenes from Wagner's Götterdämmerung with the Jacksonville Symphony led by Courtney Lewis.  During the summer of 2017 she sang Lady Billows in Albert Herring for Union Avenue Opera and Act II from Die Walküre with baritone Alan Held for the Miami Music Festival.

Ms. Brewer continues her work with the Marissa, Illinois 6th graders in a program called Opera-tunities, which is now in its 14th year.  She also works with the voice students at Webster University.  On April 29, 2015, Christine Brewer joined 140 other notable celebrities receiving a bronze star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.  

Brewer’s discography includes over 25 recordings.  Her most recent recording, Divine Redeemer on Naxos contains selections with concert organist Paul Jacobs. 




John McDonaldJohn McDonald

McKendree University Assistant Professor of Music Education and Director of Choral Activities

John McDonald is Assistant Professor of Music Education and Director of Choirs at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. He also serves as director of the St. Louis Children’s Choir Young Men’s Chorus. At McKendree, John teaches undergraduate courses in vocal and general music education, directs the Chamber Choir and Concert Choir, and is Chair of the Student Affairs Committee. He is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association where he serves on the National Standing Committee for Education and Communication and is the District 6 Representative for the Illinois chapter. He also maintains a professional ensemble singing career performing with the Missouri Choral Artists and the Church of St. Michael and St. George. John earned degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (D.M.A.), East Carolina University (M.M.), and Middle Tennessee State University (B.M.E.).