The Booster Redux

Singing in the spotlight

Hurt-McLarty wins vocal music award

Photo by: Contributed photo

Photo by: Contributed photo

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Growing up, senior Cassie Hurt-McLarty knew she wanted to major in music.

“When I was five years old, I was doing a public performance downtown on Broadway [Street], and I told my mom, ‘This is not the Broadway I meant,’” Hurt-McLarty said. “At 12 years old, I decided I wanted to be a vocal performance major. I’ve always loved performing, so all the vocal camps seemed like what I was supposed to be doing.”

Hurt-McLarty has been selected for two different camps for the last two years, both based on auditions. One is at K-State, which only admits 40 students, and the other at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, admitting 25.

Hurt-McLarty has been involved in vocal music for most of her life, but she has been taking lessons with Pittsburg State University professor and professional opera singer Lisa Gerstenkorn since she was 11.

“Every year at Pittsburg Idol, [Gerstenkorn] gives out coupons for a free lesson,” Hurt-McLarty said. “I tried it out and ended up really liking it.”

Throughout her years of performing, Hurt-McLarty has won numerous awards.

On Oct. 21, she competed in the regional National Association for Teachers of Singing (NATS), in Bolivar, Missouri. Hurt-McLarty has competed in NATS for the past four years. This was the first year she won both categories for high school women — classical and musical theatre.

“When you win first in a category, you get to perform in the winners’ recital. That’s really cool. I got to perform pieces from both of my categories in front of every judge and contestant,” Hurt-McLarty said. “It is a good chance for exposure because you are performing in front of music professors for a lot of different colleges.”

On Nov. 4, Hurt-McLarty performed in “Trial by Jury” which was put on by Opera Kansas, a Wichita-based company. Hurt-McLarty auditioned in September and spent her Sundays rehearsing with the cast as the only high school student in the production.

“I was the youngest by four years, so there was a big age gap,” Hurt-McLarty said. “But it was really cool to work with professionals in the business I wish to go into.

“Trial by Jury” is the fictional story of a girl who sues her ex-fiancé for expenses of a wedding that did not happen. Hurt-McLarty played a juror and was part of the ensemble.

“It was a really great experience because I got to work with people who have already established their career in opera,” Hurt-McLarty said. Music is the most important aspect of my life because it allows me to express emotion in a healthy environment and learn about humanity.”

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Singing in the spotlight