SOU student performs at Carnegie Hall

It took a lot more than practice for singer Beatriz Abella to find her way to Carnegie Hall last week.

After creating a DVD of herself singing in February, the Southern Oregon University junior won second place in the National Young Musician's Showcase Competition. It was an impressive feat, but not quite enough to win a Carnegie Hall slot.

Abella caught a lucky break in early April, however, when the first-place winner — a singer from the Juilliard School — gave up the opportunity, and passed the honor along to Abella.

"The Juilliard girl couldn't make it to the performance," said Abella, "so she dropped out, and I took her spot."

A few weeks later, the 20-year-old music student was on a flight to New York, the only singer among 30 young musicians.

"It was exhilarating to discover that I would perform at Carnegie Hall," said Abella. "I've always wanted to perform there, but I never thought I would get the chance."

Abella, who is originally from Juneau, Alaska, has been singing all her life, but didn't start taking lessons until two-and-a-half years ago when she started college.

The 30 musicians were named grand winners by the National League of Performing Arts, the host of the competition, and were able to perform April 30 to an intimate crowd of families and National League of Performing Arts board members.

"You have to take initiative to get these opportunities," said Abella, who entered six or seven other competitions before the National Young Musician's Showcase.

"The more you apply yourself the more likely you are to succeed," she said.

The SOU Music Department donated $500 to Abella for the last-minute trip, and she received another $1,000 from the provost's office after noting that her experience would be beneficial to not just herself, but other SOU music students, and the campus community as a whole.

"The more students that realize the quality of the music program — the quality students and faculty — they will want to become more involved," said Abella.

Abella's academic adviser, SOU Associate Professor of Music Terry Longshore, helped her gather the money for the trip, and wasn't surprised she won such a high honor.

"She's got a lot of ambition," said Longshore. "It shows that SOU students can compete with anyone, anywhere."

Abella will perform at SOU on May 18 as part of the Southern Oregon Arts and Research event. Abella and other performers will present for SOAR between 1 and 3 p.m. in front of Britt Hall on the SOU campus.

Teresa Ristow is a reporting intern for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at

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