Student selected as semi-finalist for singing competition

Oakland University’s Noah Canales has been selected as one of the semi-finalists for The American Pops Orchestra (APO) semi-finals for their fourth annual “NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow” competition. The competition will take place on Nov. 21, 2020, at 8 p.m.

APO was founded in 2015 by Maestro Luke Frazier. The goal of APO is to give opportunities to promote and reimagine American music. They focus on live and virtual performances and work to build a bigger community.

This competition has participating vocalists from colleges and universities across the U.S. The winner of the competition will receive $1,000.

To participate, the contestants had to audition by sending in a 32 measure cut from a song before the 1970s. They could choose from different genres of music such as musical theater or Jazz.

There were 30 contestants chosen to move on to the semi-final round. During this round, contestants are required to record the same cut but in more of a professional manner, using professional microphones. 

Canales first heard about this opportunity from his voice teacher Alta Marie Boover.

“I’ve kind of dealt with being a lot more timid or nervous and being afraid of failure and I wouldn’t take opportunities that people would put out toward me,” Canales said. “I think that this can be the first step in making myself known to the public and putting my name and face out there.”

The first round of the competition is virtual, and the contestants have already sent in their videos for the event on Nov. 11. 

A week before the auditions, the contestants had the opportunity to attend a masterclass to get prep work in and get tips on how to set up their video.

The semi-finals will be judged by a panel of judges including broadway stars, recording artists and art administrators. They will also be providing the contestants feedback on their performances. 

Canales chose to sing “Lost in The Stars” by Kurt Weill, a composer from the 1920s. The song is from the musical theater genre and is from the musical “Lost in The Stars”.

“This piece is very humbling, it’s a very emotional piece when you think about the lyrics,” Canales said.

The song is about explaining to a little girl why God doesn’t always help you. It goes on to express the idea of people being lost together with God watching over them.

“I didn’t think this competition was as big as it was and I was just like ‘oh yeah, let me just send in their piece that I’m trying out,’” Canales said. “When you get an email back that oh, there’s this and oh, there’s a giant competition you’re like ‘oh wow I actually have to put a lot more time and effort into this piece than I thought.’”

For the audience to watch the event they can go to the link provided here, and this will also allow the audience to vote for their favorite performance. Voting throughout the competition will help contestants move on to the final round.

Canales said he will be doing all that he can to make OU proud.

“I want to make sure I keep working to make sure I find more opportunities like this,” Canales said. “I want to make sure I can make sure everyone is proud of me and not let them down.”