Undergraduate and graduate performance opportunities include recitals, choral ensembles,
chamber groups, opera scene programs and fully staged productions.
The choral department at USC, dedicated to the art of choral singing, provides participants
with ample opportunity to perform both on- and off-campus in beautiful and inspiring
settings. Students perform year-round in musical styles ranging from Renaissance to
pop to gospel in a wide variety of choral ensembles.
Not only do ensemble members experience the thrill and joy of performing for audiences,
they also meet others with similar interests and goals. The Concert Choir travels
the world and has performed in regions of Tuscany and Umbria, including Montecatini,
Florence, Pisa, Lucca, the Cinque Terre, Orvieto, Perugia and the Vatican in Rome.
Opera at USC gives singers and pianists at the undergraduate and graduate level excellent
training opportunities. The opera workshop courses (MUSC 130K Stage Movement and Technique
and MUSC 780 Opera Theater) help students develop and learn characterization, stage
presence, diction, movement and other necessary theatrical skills through intensive
coaching and group discussion. These courses may be repeated for additional credit.
Undergraduate students gain practical stage experience by performing in programs of
opera scenes and participating in opera choruses in full-length productions. In addition,
Opera at USC features one production a year with undergraduates cast in principal roles (MUSC
Opera at USC offers additional performing opportunities through the annual In Schools
Opera Educational Outreach program. This outreach serves as a vital link with the
communities of the Midlands of South Carolina.
Our voice faculty bring a wide range of experience to the teaching studio, and quite
a few degree options to choose from as well.
Bachelor of Music in Music Education
Designed for qualified undergraduate students preparing for careers as music teachers
in public schools, the Bachelor of Music Education degree offered by the School of
Music offers concentrations in either Instrumental Music Education or Choral-General
Music Education. Students successfully completing the music education curriculum will
be certified to teach grades K-12 in South Carolina public schools.
Bachelor of Music in Performance
The performance curriculum is especially designed for students who wish to pursue
a career as performers or as teachers of voice. Graduates of the Bachelor of Music
program frequently elect to enroll in an Master of Music or Doctor of Musical Arts
program in graduate school. The increased interest of society in the arts is creating
many new opportunities for the professional musician.
Bachelor of Arts in Voice
The Bachelor of Arts degree in voice allows students to gain broad experience in the
liberal arts and sciences while maintaining music as the major area of interest. Music
courses include applied voice, history, theory, and ensemble. Opportunities pursued
by recent graduates include employment in arts organizations and education as well
as careers as performers.
An optional performance certificate can be arranged for outstanding students in the
Music Education or Bachelor of Arts program who desire to meet the requirements of
both performance and their respective degree. Admission to the performance certificate
is by written consent of the coordinator of the voice area.
Master of Music in Opera Theater
The Master of Music in Opera Theater Performance is designed to prepare singers with
the musical, theatrical and diction skills needed to begin a career in opera. Opera
at USC offers a truly comprehensive program for graduate students combining outstanding
vocal instruction and musical coaching with intensive dramatic training. The Master
of Music in Opera Theater Direction covers every facet of opera production, both on
stage and behind the scenes. The program also regularly hosts professional conductors,
singers and directors in master classes and informational sessions.
Master of Music in Voice and Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice
The Master of Music and DMA in Vocal Performance focus on developing excellent vocal
technique, skill in interpreting repertoire, refined diction in English and foreign
languages, and solo artistry. In addition, opportunities are offered to participate
in opera productions, weekly studio classes and workshops with visiting artist-teachers.
Among recent graduates are faculty members of leading universities as well as professional
singers working internationally.
Graduate Performance Certificate
The Certificate of Graduate Study in Music Performance requires the successful completion
of an approved program of study that provides a minimum of eighteen (18) semester
hours of graduate study.
Tenor Dominic Armstrong is assistant professor of voice. He has established himself
as an artist of superb musicality and characterization. During the 2018-19 season,
he joined the Syracuse Opera, singing Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth, the Florida Orchestra
for Michael Tippett’s Child of Our Time, the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra for an opera
gala concert, and the Portland Symphony for Rachmaninoff’s The Bells.
Tom Brunson, bass-baritone, maintains an active private studio, is the coordinator
and instructor of the Lexington School District Two Voice Performance Program, and
has served as director of music at Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church. His students
have won numerous state, regional and national honors at NATS and the Metropolitan
Opera Auditions, and have sung on operatic and concert venues on six continents.
Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, voice instructor, has been praised by the New York
Times for her “penetrating clarity” and “considerable depth of expression” and by
Opera News for her “adept musicianship and dramatic flair.” She has performed with
the Amernet Quartet at the Kennedy Center, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Omaha
Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's New Music Series.
Soprano Laury Christie is a member of the voice faculty and is certified in the Alexander
technique. She has performed with orchestras the U.S. and at Spoleto Festival USA,
Alice Tully Hall in New York City and on Public Radio.
Daniel Cole is an adjunct member of the voice faculty, basso cantante, and has performed
extensively around the United States. He is a Metropolitan Opera National Council
auditions state and regional winner and his international opera credits include roles
in Lisbon, Cologne, Taiwan and Amsterdam.
Jabarie Glass is associate director of choral studies. His diverse conducting experiences
have included working with university, secondary, community youth, festival, and church
choral ensembles. He maintains an active schedule of concerts, lectures, guest conducting
and adjudication engagements throughout the U.S.
Donald Gray has been a voice faculty member since 1972 and has performed all around
the world. He has been a Metropolitan Opera audition winner and won the second annual
Mario Lanza Competition.
Soprano Serena Hill-LaRoche, voice instructor, is an active concert artist. An award
winning vocal artist, she was a finalist in the Southeast Regional Metropolitan Opera
Auditions, a NATS Artist Award Regional Finalist, and Bizet Award winner for the Orpheus.
Mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins is associate professor of voice and chairs the voice faculty.
She has toured extensively with The Metropolitan Opera and has performed in Japan
and throughout Europe, as well as all over the U.S. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall
and at the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
Lynn Kompass is vocal coach and associate professor. She provides musical preparation
for all productions performed by Opera at USC and teaches courses in song literature
and advanced diction for singers.
Ellen Douglas Schlaefer
Ellen Douglas Schlaefer is director of Opera Studies. She has worked with some of
the world’s top opera companies and directors, including the Washington Opera and
Francesca Zambello. She has staged productions across the U.S. and throughout South
Tina Milhorn Stallard
Tina Milhorn Stallard, soprano, is professor of voice and teaches vocal pedagogy.
She performed Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with the Shanghai Philharmonic as part of the cultural
prelude to the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Alicia W. Walker
Alicia Walker is director of choral studies. She teaches conducting and choral methods
and courses in sacred music and music education. She is a frequent guest conductor,
writer and lecturer.
Jacob Will, bass-baritone, has made his New York Philharmonic debut as soloist in
the American premiere of the “Messa per Rossini,” in a performance televised live
Emeritus Larry Wyatt is active as a community and church musician, he has held church
music director positions for 35 years and almost as many years as a community chorus