Senior Larkin Barnard-Bahn placed third in the 17-22 age group of the Sacramento Master Singers Scholarship for Young Choral Singers on March 31, winning $100.
According to the Sacramento Master Singers’ website, participants should be current members of their school, church or community choir and show commitment to and leadership in the choral arts. Barnard-Bahn is a member of the Sacramento Children’s Chorus and started Country Day’s a cappella club, called The Sirens, in her sophomore year.
Singers were judged on appropriateness of song selection, preparation, diction and pronunciation, tone quality, intonation, musicality, expression, communication and overall performance, the website said.
“I was really happy to get a scholarship, especially because I was on the younger end of my age group,” Barnard-Bahn said. “That was really special, and I was super excited when I got the email.”
Barnard-Bahn said she found out about the opportunity from director of college counseling Jane Bauman.
“I was really excited that I met all the requirements,” Barnard-Bahn said. “It was something very specific, which is great for a scholarship because fewer people are eligible to enter. And I have never actually been in a choral competition before, which I’ve always wanted to try.”
To enter, she submitted a song she had already recorded for art supplements when applying to colleges: “Beau Soir” by Claude Debussy.
“I loved this song when I sang it in my chorus in eighth grade,” she said. “It was this beautiful arrangement in three parts that also went well with my voice.
“I also love having the recording as a permanent memory. Even though all the little flaws jump out at me when I listen to it, I’m proud of myself for my growth as a singer and for earning the scholarship.”
In previous years, participants submitted a recording, and some would be called back for a live audition. Those who placed would perform in a concert. However, due to the pandemic, the auditions were done on Zoom, and the concert was canceled, according to the website.
During the video audition, participants had the option to use their recorded song or sing live, and Barnard-Bahn chose the first.
“Zoom isn’t great for singing because there’s lag,” she said. “I would’ve also needed a pianist or would’ve sung along to a YouTube video — so the recording was a much better option.”
She added that the Zoom interview was her favorite part of the experience.
“I really enjoyed talking with the judges about my love of singing and my other passions,” she said.
Barnard-Bahn said she wasn’t sure whether she would place because she didn’t hear the other singers.
“I knew there were going to be some talented singers because it included college singers with individual instruction, which I haven’t had much of,” she said.
Barnard-Bahn said she would recommend this competition to other chorus singers, especially because it gave her more confidence in her singing.
“It’s a great experience, especially to audition live and perform in a concert, which, unfortunately, wasn’t a possibility,” Barnard-Bahn said. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
She appreciated that the competition took place despite the coronavirus.
“The arts have been hit really hard by the effects of COVID-19,” Barnard-Bahn said. “Organizations can’t do any concerts and stuff like that. I’m really grateful that they continued the scholarship with the limitations that they had.”
—By Sanjana Anand