Isabelle Kosempa, a UNC junior vocal performance major, won first place in the Lower Classical Treble Voices division of a national singing competition on July 2.
The 57th National Association of Teachers of Singing competition took place from July 1-6 in Chicago, Illinois, with 250 high school and college vocalists from the U.S. and Canada participating.
14 singers from each of the 18 categories were selected to attend the national semifinals in Chicago this year, including four from UNC.
From there, the top three performers from each category continued on to compete in the finals of the competition.
“Finding out that I was a finalist was a huge deal for me already," Kosempa said. "It was just a huge inspiration just to keep going, but I think placing first just really made me feel like I belonged there and just gave me a sense that my hard work is really paying off.”
Kosempa said every young musician struggles with wanting to belong and wanting to pursue a career that's so hard to get into. However, she said the NATS competition was a good inspiration for her to keep going.
Each first-place prize came with over $13,000 in cash and prizes.
This included $5,000 in cash, a $4,000 scholarship to the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria and a $1,000 gift certificate to the Hal Leonard Corporation.
Additionally, winners received a solo debut sponsored by Distinguished Concerts International New York and a solo recital at the competition.