Summit City Vocal Classic – Full Day

August 8, 2020

Show Time: 9:00 am

Summit City Music Theatre is proud to partner with the historic Embassy Theatre to host the Summit City Vocal Classic! Come see the best of young talent in Fort Wayne! This LIVE one day competition is for High School students entering grades 10-graduating seniors. Students will sing on the stage of the Embassy Theatre! Scholarship money and prizes will be awarded.

Students will prepare two pieces to be performed from memory. Both pieces should be from the musical theatre or classical canon. Only one piece will be performed in the Preliminary Round of competition. If selected as a Finalist, both pieces will be performed.

The Preliminary Round will begin at 9 am, with a Master Class taking place at 3:15. The Final Round will be presented as a concert at 7 pm. All rounds of competition are open to the public. Social distancing, assigned seating, thorough cleaning procedures during and in between rounds and other health precautions will be enforced per the policies of the Embassy.

Donations for scholarship awards can be made HERE:

Activities are made possible in part by Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.



Alan Alder – Headshot (Tails)

Alan Alder is an assistant professor of teaching in the School of Music at Ball State University, where he servers as Producer/Director of the University Singers, Indiana’s Official Goodwill Ambassadors, and teaches Music History. Under Dr. Alder’s direction, the Ball State University Singers won the gold medal at the 2012 World Choir Games, making them the World’s Number One Collegiate Entertainment Organization. The group also won the top prize at the Xinghai International Choral Championships in Guangzhou China, making them the most awarded collegiate entertainment group in competition history.

Alder holds the Doctor of Arts degree in Choral Conducting from Ball State University, where is research is focused on high school choral directors and their perceptions of the impact of their teaching and administrative practices on their students’ success in learning and performance. He also holds the Master of Music degree from Ball State University, and the BME degree from Indiana State University. In 2011 he was the doctoral recipient of Ball State University’s Excellence in Teaching Award for outstanding teaching, innovation and leadership.

Alder is a sought-after adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor, and arranger for choirs and bands throughout the nation and around the world; his performing and teaching activities have taken him to the continents of Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. He has conducted and performed with artists such as Grammy Award winner Sandi Patty, Broadway’s Eden Espinosa, Doc Severinsen, and jazz legends J.J. Johnson and Jiggs Whigham. Alder has co-authored the book titled The Show Choir Handbook, released by Rowman & Littlefield in 2016.


Tenor Kerry Lee Jennings holds the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Master of Music Degrees from the University of Washington and the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park. His teachers have included Julian Patrick, Carmen Pelton, François Loup, and Gran Wilson. Dr. Jennings enjoys a career that encompasses opera, oratorio, recital, and chamber works. On the operatic stage, performance highlights include over forty lead and supporting roles comprised of early, standard and contemporary repertoire. Recent activities have included recitals, concerts, operatic engagements, and masterclasses in Phoenix, Houston, Norfolk, Columbus, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago, and Sankt Anton Austria, where he performed the role of Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Highlights as a concert soloist have included Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Bach’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Creation, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Schubert’s Mass in G Major, The Seven Last Words of Christ by Dubois, The Christmas Oratorio by Saint-Saëns, Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, and Fonseca’s Missa AfroBrasileira.

An accomplished recitalist, Kerry is a strong advocate for song repertoire. Noted for his “beautiful voice, great diction, and uncanny sense of style and phrasing,” he particularly enjoys success in the performance of English language song. His recording with pianist Amanda Hopson, In My Memory: American Songs and Song Cycles and released by Centaur Records, has been met with acclaim from both the composers and critics alike. The recording features works by Libby Larsen, Tom Cipullo, Lori Laitman, and Richard Pearson Thomas. Libby Larsen has called Kerry’s recording of her cycle My Àntonia “the definitive reference performance for future performances” and has featured it on her website. Lori Laitman also praised the recording, saying “Kerry and Amanda’s sensitive performances of my music, including the premiere of “On A Photograph” (poetry by John Wood), reveal artistry of the highest level. I am thrilled.” He is also featured on recordings of composers David Arbury and Michael John Trotta, and as tenor soloist with the Houston Camerata. He will release his second solo disc of American Song Cycles with works by Juliana Hall and Zachary Wadsworth in 2021. Dr. Jennings was a District Winner and Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Dr. Jennings’ students are regularly winners at the state and regional levels of the Student Auditions sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). In 2020, his students placed 3rd and 1st in their respective categories in the NATS National Student Auditions. Additionally, they have won significant awards from the Metropolitan National Council, Classical Singer, the Orpheus Competition, and other notable voice competitions. Many have gone on to prestigious graduate programs and have also garnered praise for their work on stage in operatic and musical theater performances in summer programs and with professional companies throughout the US and Europe. He is also a respected clinician and adjudicator, having judged competitions such as Classical Singer and NATSAA. Dr. Jennings is the Voice Area Coordinator at DePauw University where he also currently serves as Director of Opera. He has also taught voice and directed for the Austrian American Mozart Academy in Salzburg and is an active member of NATS, NOA, The Recording Academy, and Opera America.


William Sauerland is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies for the School of Music at Purdue University – Fort Wayne, conducting the choral ensembles, teaching classes in music education, and supervising student teachers. He was previously a Lecturer in Voice at San Francisco State University, and the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Chabot College in Hayward, CA, where he received an Educator of Excellence Award from the Chabot Black Scholars. Dr. Sauerland taught choral music at Lick-Wilmerding High School for six years, and served as Associate Music Director for the Grammy Award-winning Pacific Boychoir Academy. He also has 10 years of experience in directing community choruses, including the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus and the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco. Dr. Sauerland is an adjudicator and faculty member for Schmidt Vocal Arts.

Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for his “limpid tone and astonishing eloquence,” Dr. Sauerland remains active as a professional countertenor. His recent solo appearances include the American Bach Soloists, Echoing Air, Festival Opera Company, Folger Consort, Handel Opera Project, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Oakland Symphony Orchestra, and Pacific Chorale. A former member of the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer, Dr. Sauerland has sung throughout the world, and recorded multiple albums for Warner Classics.

As a researcher and scholar, Dr. Sauerland has presented at regional, national, and international conferences for the American Choral Directors Association (2015), Chorus America (2017, 2019), Society for Music Teacher Education (2017), College Music Society (2018), and Royal Musical Association (2019). Dr. Sauerland’s research interests include social justice pedagogy in vocal music education, trans and non-binary vocality, and student-centered teaching. His publications appear in the Journal of Singing, Journal of Music Teacher Education, VOICEPrints (Journal of the New York Singing Teachers’ Association), and in two forthcoming choral textbooks, The Art of the Choral Music Educator and The Choral Conductor’s Companion.

Dr. Sauerland received the Doctorate of Education in College Teaching of Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. As a Marshall Scholarship recipient, he earned a Master of Music (MMus) and Post-Graduate Diploma (PGDip) in Advanced Vocal Performance from the Royal College of Music in London. Born in Indiana and raised on a small dairy farm in Ohio, he received a Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


Gavin Drew Photo

Gavin Thomas Drew is a profoundly deaf actor and singer who studied Musical Theatre at Oklahoma City University. He uses cochlear implants and sings by sensation. His regional theatre credits include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown* (Snoopy) Summit City Music Theatre, The Music Man in Concert (Ensemble & u/s Harold Hill) Oklahoma CityRepYou’re a Good Man, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Snoopy) and Greater Tuna (Arles Struvie) for Divergence Theatre Company, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charlie Brown) Pollard Theatre Company 

On the local Fort Wayne Civic stage, Gavin can be remembered for his performances in Shrek (Ensemble), A Christmas Story (Scut Farkas), and Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein for which he won the Anthony Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor as Igor.

Other credits include South PacificSeussical, The Sound of MusicThe Addams Family, and The Last Five Years. 

In addition to performing, Gavin has also directed theatre and taught masterclasses for Oklahoma City University, University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma State University and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma.

Gavin proudly serves as an advocate for differently abled actors for Sheri Sander’s Rock the Audition Coalition.

* denotes Broadway World Award for Best Featured Actor in a Professional Musical


Melissa Baughman Photo

Melissa Baughman is a graduate of Cedarville University where she obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Keyboard Pedagogy. Melissa has combined her love of piano playing and musical theater by accompanying productions at Churubusco High School and Summit City Musical Theatre, where she is the staff accompanist. She is a board member and active performer with the Turtletown Players, a local community theater group. In 2016, Melissa was named as an overall winner of the Community Foundation of Whitley County Heart of Gold Award for her devotion and generous service to musical excellence in the Churubusco community. Melissa owns Ivory Interludes Piano Studio, an independent piano studio in Churubusco, Indiana, where she has been successfully teaching students of all ages for over twenty years. She is also the choral assistant at Churubusco High School and the accompanist for their award-winning show choirs, New Era and New Generation.


Takorei Moore, sophomore
Northrop High School
Never Enough, The Greatest Showman (Pasek and Paul)
I Have Nothing, The Bodyguard (D. Foster, L. Thompson)

Hannah Byrd, college freshman
Northrop High School
When Did I Fall in Love, Fiorello! (J. Bock)
I Can Cook Too, On the Town (L. Bernstein)

Britney Ho, senior
Norwell High School
Like Other Girls, Daddy Long Legs (P. Gordon)
The Light in the Piazza, The Light in the Piazza (A. Guettel)

Blair McKown, college freshman
DeKalb High School
I Want the Good Times Back, The Little Mermaid (A. Menken)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, The Wizard of Oz (H.Arlen)

 Elizabeth Weber, college freshman
Northrop High School
On My Way, Violet (J. Tesori)
Nothing Stops Another Day, Ghost the Musical (G. Ballard)

 Katie Davis, junior
Bryan High School
Die Nacht (R. Strauss)
Adelaide’s Lament, Guys and Dolls (F. Loesser)

 Isaac Knudsen, junior
Bellmont High School
Someone Else’s Skin, Catch Me If You Can (M. Shaiman)
Santa Fe, Newsies (A. Menken)

Megan Baczynski, senior
Bellmont High School
With You, Ghost  (G. Ballard)
Gimme Gimme, Thoroughly Modern Millie (J. Tesori)

Jada Stefanko, college freshman
Northrop High School
Home, Beetlejuice the Musical (E. Perfect)
Fifteen Pounds (Z. Goldrich)

Jakob Tomlinson, senior
Indiana Connections Academy
Role of a Lifetime, Bare: A Pop Opera (D. Intrabartolo)
Goodbye, Catch Me If You Can (M. Shaiman)

Mallory Ehrhart, senior
Antwerp High School
Bel piacere (G. F. Handel)
I Have Dreamed, The King and I (R. Rodgers)

Ella Nagel, senior
Carroll High School
Inside Out, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (S. Lutvak)
Flight (C. Carnelia)

Myranda Brooks, freshman
Antwerp High School
Falling in Love With Love, The Boys from Syracuse (R. Rodgers)
My True Love, Phantom (M. Yeston)

Bethany Villaruz, college freshman
Homestead High School
I ‘d Give My Life for You, Miss Saigon (C. Schönberg)
Begin the Beguine, Jubilee (C. Porter)

Emersen Conner, senior
Carroll High School
Times are Hard for Dreamers, Amelie (D. Messé)
No One Else, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (D. Malloy)

Mercy Barnett, senior
Homestead High School
Glitter and Be Gay, Candide (L. Bernstein)
Meadowlark, The Baker’s Wife (S. Schwartz)

Madeline Steck, junior
DeKalb High School
Lost in the Brass, Band Geeks (T. Newman)
Maybe I Like It This Way, The Wild Party (A. Lippa)

Sophia Emrah, senior
Norwell High School
I’d Rather Be Me, Mean Girls (J.Richmond)
The Party’s Over, Bells Are Ringing (J. Styne)

Taylor Bolton, senior
Northrop High School
Life of the Party, The Wild Party (A. Lippa)
Astonishing, Little Women (J. Howland)

Rebekah Staples, senior
Bishop Luers High School
Pur Dicesti (A. Lotti)
The Ash Grove (B. Britten)

Addi Antibus, junior
Homestead High School
If I Were a Bell, Guys and Dolls (F. Loesser)
Once Upon a Dream, Jekyll and Hyde (F. Wildhorn)

Aaron Hawley, senior
Antwerp High School
Wondering, The Bridges of Madison County (J.R. Brown)
The Lady Must Be Mad, Illyria (P. Mills)

Cameron Gregory, junior
Carroll High School
Words Fail, Dear Evan Hansen (Pasek and Paul)
Quiet (J. R. Gealt)

Donovan Carmichael, senior
Garrett High School
Bright Star, Bright Star (E. Brickell and S. Martin)
For Forever, Dear Evan Hansen (Pasek and Paul)

Emma Pillie, college freshman
Bishop Dwenger High School
Times are Hard for Dreamers, Amelie (D. Messé)
Sing Happy, Flora the Red Menace (Kander and Ebb)


The Embassy Theatre
Sweetwater Sound
John O’Connell
Emily Keirns
Jerilyn Ransom
The Martin Family
Heather Conner
Verse Custom Solutions
Pastor’s Place
Aaron Childress
Black Canyon Restaurant
Jill Jeran
Carroll Show Choirs
Tony Didier