Due to the unprecedented nature of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the continuously changing situation, unfortunately the Vocal Competition scheduled for April 18, 2020 has been cancelled.  Please check back for further details as to when this will be rescheduled. 

CAPA is excited to announce we will be holding our Third Annual Vocal Scholarship Competition on Saturday, April 18th from 10am-4pm.  Xavier University Music Department has graciously partnered with us again this year and the competition will be held at Bellarmine Chapel located at Xavier University.  The competition is open to all students in grades 9-12 from the Greater Cincinnati area.  Over $2,500 in prizes will be awarded  and there is no entry fee. 

Competition Requirements

  • Performance of two memorized selections; one musical theatre or classical selection and another of contrasting style: Classical, Pop, Gospel, Jazz or original composition.
  • Accompanist is provided at no cost to the applicant.  Applicant is responsible for bringing readable and clearly marked music for the accompanist to use. You are welcome to bring your own accompanist if you so wish.

Time, Date and Place of Competition

  • April 18th, 2020 – 10am-4pm – (Winners will be announced at the end of the competition.)
  • Bellarmine Chapel – Xavier University (3801 Ledgewood Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45207)
  • Applicants will be notified by email of audition times, no later than Monday, April 13th, 2020.


  • First Place…………………….……………..$500
  • Second Place…………………….…………$250
  • Third Place…………………….…………….$100
  • Rising Star Awards…………………………$50
  • One CAPA Vocal Scholarship will be awarded to one student for a year of voice lessons with a CAPA Instructor.  This prize is worth over $1,200.

Competition Schedule & Info

  • The competition will begin at 10am on April 18th. Directions to Bellarmine Chapel at Xavier University are below.
  • Each student will have a 7 min time slot.  There will be a timer present and will call “time” in the unlikely situation that your songs go over time.
  • Students are to check-in at least 20 minutes prior to their scheduled performance time.  There will be two warm up rooms available.
  • Once you arrive at Xavier, please be sure to check in at Bellarmine Chapel.  Signs will be posted around the building leading you do the check in table.
  • You will not have the opportunity to rehearse with the pianist in advance of the competition.
  • All songs must be memorized.
  • Singers will need to provide one (1) copy of printed music for the accompanist that is clear and easy to read for each of their songs. Please make sure that your music is complete and not missing the bass clef.  The printed music should be in a binder, double sided and well marked. It is not necessary to send your music in advance of the competition. It should be brought with you the day of the competition.
  • If there are changes in your repertoire on the day of the competition, you will be asked to announce the changes before you sing.
  • There is no hard and fast rule regarding dress. We recommend you wear your “Sunday Best”. Dresses should be an appropriate length for stage.  If you are wearing high heels, make sure that you can walk in them.  Keep in mind that your appearance will make an impression on the judges.
  • Enter the stage with authority, give your music to the pianist, and move to the crook or the bend of the piano.  Smile and then announce your name and your first selection.  Please do not announce where you are from, your age, or your year in school.  There will be no applause so you will not need to bow.
  • There will be three professional adjudicators.  Singers are adjudged on beauty of voice, technical skill, musicality, accuracy, communication of text, diction, and presentation.
  • All events are free and open to the public. We encourage parents, siblings, teachers, and other family members to come and watch the entire day. We do ask the audience to refrain from applause after your performance so it is not necessary to bow.  This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from and support other students.
  • Winners will be announced at the award ceremony end of the competition once the judges have tallied their scores and chosen the winners.  We ask that you stay for the award ceremony if you are available, but it is not required.  If you are a winner and are not at the ceremony, your award will be mailed to you.
  • Directions to Bellarmine Chapel:
    • Parking passes will be made available via email upon acceptance to the competition. Bellarmine Chapel is located on the Academic Mall (F4 on the campus map). The closest parking will be available along University Drive, as well as the Brockman and Gallagher lots with the use of a parking pass.
    • Link to the Campus Maps page: https://www.xavier.edu/about/map



First Place
Amy Helms – Senior from Kings High School
Second Place
Reed Gnepper – Senior from SCPA
Third Place Tie
Claire Hardek – Freshman from Indian Hill High School
Maxwell Perrino – Senior from St. Xavier High School
Vocal Lesson Scholarship Winner
Piper Johnson – Junior from Walnut Hills High School
Rising Star Encouragement Awards

Elizabeth Donnelly – Senior from Indian Hill High School
Matthew Eggers – Junior from Walnut Hills High School
Reilly Grace – Sophomore from Indian Hill High School
Samantha Cline – Sophomore from Sycamore High School

2019 Competition Pictures

2019 Competition Judges

Dr. Audrey Walstrom is a voice pathologist at the Blaine Block Institute for Voice Analysis & Rehabilitation in Dayton, OH. In addition to recently completing studies in Speech-Language Pathology at Miami University (2017), she has enjoyed a diverse career as a performing artist and voice teacher. She has appeared in principal roles with Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, and Santa Fe Opera and as mezzo-soprano soloist with Bach Society of Dayton, Louisville Choral Arts Society, Cincinnati Bach Ensemble, Collegium Cincinnati, Bourbon Baroque, Vocal Arts Ensemble, concert:nova, and others. Dr. Walstrom was a National Semi-Finalist in the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. She studied voice performance at Rice University (B.M. & B.A., 2007) and University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (M.M., 2009; D.M.A., 2013). She has taught voice at the University of Louisville, Wittenberg University, and Northern Kentucky University.

Dr. Walstrom’s professional and research interests include the singing voice and how to improve collaboration between singing teachers and clinical voice pathologists. She presented original interdisciplinary research at 2017 meetings of the Ohio Speech-Language Hearing Association and The Voice Foundation in support of her master’s thesis, which examined differences in how singing teachers and voice pathologists perceive and describe disordered speaking voices. Dr. Walstrom continues to regularly perform professionally in the Cincinnati area.

Mezzo-soprano Ellen Graham is a versatile singer who has garnered recognition for performances that are “stirring” and “beautifully sung.” She performs regularly in Cincinnati with the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble, Collegium Cincinnati, convert:nova, Queen City Opera and the Vocal Arts Ensemble under Craig Hella Johnson. In addition she has been a member of the Cincinnati Opera Chorus for over a decade.

Dr. Graham has performed with the Cincinnati Pops under the baton of John Morris Russell and has appeared as a soloist with The May Festival under Robert Porco, as well as many regional orchestras including the Evansville Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Central Ohio Symphony, and the Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra.

Equally at home on the musical theater stage, she has performed in regional theaters including Pittsburgh Public Theater and the College Light Opera Company and has portrayed such roles as Ruth (The Pirates of Penzance), Madame Giry (Phantom of the Opera), Sheila (A Chorus Line) and Katisha in The Mikado. She can be heard singing the role of Orlofsky in the 2010 Albany Records recording of Die Fledermaus.

Dr. Graham is the Director of Vocal Studies at Xavier University. Dr. Graham received her doctorate at the University of Kentucky, her Master’s from Miami University and her Bachelor’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She has served as Adjunct Instructor of Voice at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in the Commercial Music Production Program, Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky and Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH. Her research in voice science and vocal health was published in Medical Problems of Performing Artists in 2016.

John Woll is a Cincinnati native who has always had a passion for the arts. John attended Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) and 

Ball State University with a Fine Arts Scholarship. John majored in Musical Theater with a Dance Minor and was a member of the Ball State Dance Theater.

Regionally John has performed with: The Papermill Theater, Broadway Palm West, Roxy Regional, The Barn Theater, Cherry County Playhouse, The Geffen Playhouse, The Knightsbridge Theater, Performance Riverside and Candlelight Pavillion.  John has toured with Theater IV, Artreach, Nebraska Theater Caravan and Theaterworks. John has also performed at Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Universal Studios, King’s Island, Cedar Point, Coney Island and Americana.

Locally, John has worked withLoveland Stage Company, Showbiz Players, Mason Community Players, Cincinnati Music Theatre, Falcon Theater and The Showboat Majestic.  John has has been an adjudicator for The  League of Cincinnati Theaters (LCT) and Association of Community Theaters (ACT).  Most recently, John performed in “Swing!” At The Carnegie, The Jungle Book Jr. with The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati, King’s Island’s Winterfest in the Holly Jolly Trolley and The Who’s Tommy in Concert at Memorial Hall. His next project will be Pippin at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater.

John is proud to be a part of the CAPA Vocal Scholarship Competition’s judges panel and to meet the many talented students who are the future of the arts.

2018 CAPA Vocal Scholarship Winners Announced













Cincinnati Academy of Performing Arts held its first annual vocal scholarship competition on April 22, 2018. Twenty-eight talented high school students from greater Cincinnati area registered to compete in the competition.

The competition required performance of two memorized selections; one musical theatre selection and another of contrasting style: Classical, Pop, Gospel, Jazz or original composition. The competition was held at Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church at 5125 Drake Road Cincinnati, Ohio.

Samantha Cline of Blue Ash, received the top award of private vocal lessons for the 2018-19 school year which is an $800 value. Reilly Grace of Kenwood, was awarded first place $500, Jonah Sorscher of Camp Dennison, was awarded second place $250 and Abigail Wright of Indian Hill, was awarded third place $100. Six Rising Star Encouragement Awards ($50 each) were awarded. Rising Star award winners: Claire Striet (Milford), Kate Sebastian (Hyde Park), Andrew Hackler (Loveland), Elizabeth Donnelly (Indian Hill), Kailey Klimkowski (Anderson) and Brianna Taylor (New Richmond).