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LSC-Kingwood alumna earns top honors at competition

Some people wait a lifetime to accomplish their dreams,but for Blair Doerge the time has come for her to shine.

Doerge, a 2004 music graduate of Lone Star College-Kingwood, won the Edward Baird Singer of the Year award, a $1,000 in cash and a scholarship to an Austrian summer opera program at the annual TEXOMA Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

“When I won the Edward Baird award, I was very proud of myself. I have worked very hard to be able to present my best for the judges and I feel that all of my hard work has paid off. I was more excited because I knew that I made my teacher, Anne Heath-Welch, and all of my supporters very proud as well,” Doerge said.

Winning the prestigious award did not happen overnight. For five months, the singer and Heath-Welch, an adjunct music professor at LSC-Kingwood, worked very hard during their one-hour weekly sessions. As the competition approached, Doerge also worked with Jay Whatley, associate professor of Music and collaborative pianist at the college.

At the regional competition, Doerge competed in two rounds against other singers.  In the first round, she selected the first piece of her choice and then the judges chose a variety of songs.In the final round, three finalists performed 15 minutes of singing. Doerge had a total of 14 songs prepared in four different languages.

“The music was a wide-range of music styles, periods and languages that included opera arias, oratorio pieces and art songs. I had to stay completely focused the entire time because I never knew what piece the judges were going to ask for,” Doerge said.

This year, the TEXOMA Regional NATS Competition was comprised of more than 500 singers from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico who competed in various categories. Doerge competed in and won top honors in the professional division.

“I am very proud of Blair. She has worked very hard to realize her dreams,” said Todd Miller, professor of Music and chair of Visual and Performing Artsat LSC-Kingwood. “She has worked diligently in her music classes and has participated in several summer opera workshops at the college to improve her voice and stage presence. Blair is now on the cusp of winning entrance into many prestigious professional training programs and is on her way to a career in opera. We are all very excited for her.”

Although Doerge did not grow up in a musical household, she has always had a love for classical music. As she got older, she cultivated her voice into a more operatic style of singing. That development and her passion have led the singer to become a semi-finalist for the Classical Singer University Voice Competition and ranked as one of the top three singers at the Classical Singer Convention that took place in New York City.

“The best part of singing is how the audience feels when they hear something that stirs an emotion within them. As a singer, I always strive to have my audience feel the same joy, sadness, anger and love that I feel when performing,” Doerge said. “This way the audience can be a part of my performance and I can be a part of their experience.”

In addition to her previous accomplishments, she is also a recipient of the Grady Harlan award for outstanding performance through the TEXOMA Region of NATS along with winning the women’s graduate and women’s senior division of the TEXOMA NATS. Doerge was also a finalist for the Lois Alba Aria Competition and a regional semi-finalist for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award (NATSAA).

With the Edward Baird Singer of the Year award under her belt, Doerge has auditioned for several opera companies. Those companies include Glimmerglass Opera, Houston Grand Opera and the Santa Fe Opera. She is also training for the Metropolitan Opera National Council and the Dallas Opera Vocal Competition, which will take place in the spring.

“I would love to be accepted into an apprenticeship with an opera company. That step will help me continue to make the contacts I need to get auditions with larger opera companies,” she said.

While pursuing her singing career, Doerge also works as staff singer at First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood, a staff assistant at LSC-Kingwood and has voice students at Oak Ridge High School in Conroe. She graduated from New Caney High School in 2000 and from Sam Houston State University in 2008 with her bachelor’s degree.

The music program at LSC-Kingwood offers classes for students who enjoy studying music and for those preparing to earn an associate of arts degree and transfer to a university. For these transfer students, both majors and non-majors, the program offers core courses such as music fundamentals, music theory, sight singing/ear training and music appreciation. For beginners, the program offers class voice and class piano. For more advanced students, there are courses in applied voice, piano, guitar, string, woodwinds, brass and percussion.

The music program will move to the new Music Instructional Building in 2011. The new facility will house a recital hall, practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, faculty offices, instrument storage space and more. For more information on LSC-Kingwood’s Music Program, contact Todd Miller at 281-312-1485 or Todd.R.Miller@LoneStar.edu.

Register now for credit classes online through myLoneStar.  Classes are offered days, evenings, or weekends in traditional, Internet, video, TV and independent study formats. For more information on how to register online, visit www.myLoneStar.edu/BeReady.

For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281-312-1600 or visit http://lonestar.edu/kingwood.htm

With more than 69,000 students in credit classes for fall 2010, and a total enrollment of more than 85,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit www.LoneStar.edu.