Collegiate Vocal Competition

The Opera Grand Rapids’ Collegiate Vocal Competition provides an opportunity for the finest student vocalists being trained full-time at West Michigan area colleges and universities to compete in a professional competition and to be recognized for excellence by a professional opera company.

 Pictured: 2016-2017 Collegiate Vocal Competition Concert


2017-2018 Season Collegiate Vocal Competition

The Opera Grand Rapids 2017-2018 Season Collegiate Vocal Competition will be held the weekend of April 14-15, 2018 at the Betty Van Andel Opera Center. Students will have the opportunity to compete in one of two divisions for a chance to sing on the Final Round Concert and receive cash prizes.

The Final Round Concert is open to the public. Seating is limited and provided on a first-come basis at the door.

Preliminary Round Auditions  |  Saturday, April 14, 2018  |  10am-4pm  |  Betty Van Andel Opera Center

*RESCHEDULED* Final Round Concert  |  Sunday, May 6, 2018  |  7pm  |  Betty Van Andel Opera Center

How To Apply

Applications for the 2017-2018 Season Vocal Competition are now closed. Please check back next season.

2017-2018 Season Vocal Competition Judges


John Bragle

John Bragle, tenor, is an Instructor of Voice and Director of Choirs at the Interlochen Arts Academy.  An active performer of a wide variety of repertoire in concert and recital, Bragle’s special interests include contemporary music, German Lieder, and the art songs of Gerald Finzi.  Since joining the voice faculty at Interlochen in 2008, his former students have been represented in major conservatories and schools of music in the United States, with many proceeding to enjoy professional careers in both performance and education.

Choirs under his direction have performed in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, the Harris Theater in Chicago, and DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids. He is a cum laude graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in music education and received a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from MSU.





Duane Davis

Duane Shields Davis, originally from Cleveland, has taught 48 years which included The Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Rapids Community College, Western Michigan and most recently the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.   He served as Chorus Master for Opera Grand Rapids for 31 years, leading the OGR Chorus in performances of 40 different operas.

Duane awards include the Legacy Award presented by the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Maynard Klein Award for Choral Excellence presented by the American Choral Directors Association of Michigan. His ensembles have toured the U. S., Bahamas, Canada, Japan and Europe.  Duane has conducted in Carnegie, Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls as well as the Kennedy Center.  He has conducted All-State Choirs in 12 states and 7 Canadian Provinces.

As a composer and arranger, Duane has conducted performances by the Grand Rapids Symphony at the annual Symphony With Soul concert.  His has prepared ensembles and shared the stage with such artists as Bobby McFerrin, Kurt, Elling, Janis Siegel, Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Tony Bennett, Take 6, Lalah Hathaway, New York Voices, Marcus Roberts, Lizz Wright and others.

Duane served as director of The Disney-Grammy All-American College Singers, and he conducted the opening ceremonies for the Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom. He has served as a guest artist/clinician in Riga, Latvia and was a guest presenter in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan, for the 7th World Symposium on Choral Music as well as the DODDS choral festival conductor in London, England.

In May 2016, Duane served as chorus master for productions of Porgy and Bess and conducted the premiere of a chamber opera Afram ou la belle Swite, by Edmund Thornton Jenkins, at the Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, South Carolina.  This spring Duane served as adjudicator at the Brandon Festival in Manitoba and will serve in a similar position at the New York Jazz Festival, held at the Apollo Theater.


Ricardo Herrera

Ricardo Herrera, bass-baritone, performer, teacher, stage director, was featured as soloist with Distinguished Concerts International in Jenkin’s Mass for Peace at Carnegie Hall where he also stepped in for Walter Cronkite to deliver excerpts of the “I have a dream” speech in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He sang the role of Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen with Glacier Symphony Orchestra and with Oldenburgisches Staatstheater in Germany; was a soloist with the South Eastern Festival of Song in Dallas, TX and in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Lake Forest Symphony.  Most recently he performed the role of Diego Rivera in Michigan Opera Theater’s production of Frida by Rodriguez, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Ferrando in Il Trovatore with El Paso Opera and Dr. Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Bel Canto at Caramoor for which he received rave reviews including one from the New York Times which stated “As Bartolo…the bass-baritone Ricardo Herrera nearly stopped the show with his hearty singing of the showpiece aria…capped by rapid-fire patter.”

Ricardo was honored the First Prize Award Winner of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition in NYC and was also invited to participate in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia World Opera Contest. As a Merola Opera Center participant in San Francisco he performed the title role in the Western Opera Theater National Tour of Don Giovanni. Mr. Herrera received the Demodocus Award that entitled him to his Carnegie Hall debut as the bass soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony after participating in the premiere season of Opera Aegean in Greece under the Artistic Direction of Sherrill Milnes. He also received the Adler Fellowship with San Francisco Opera where he appeared in many San Francisco Opera productions including La Traviata, Eugene Onegin, The Mother of Us All and Billy Budd. He has sung concerts and recitals in Europe including a recital on music by Paul Bowles in Palma de Mallorca, Spain and L’enfance du Christ by Berlioz in the Cathedral of Monaco and in China at the University of the Arts in Nanjing.

Recent engagements include El Porteño in Maria de Buenos Aires with Opera Grand Rapids, Diego Rivera in Frida with Cincinnati Opera and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Festival Amadeus in Montana as well as Jose Inocente in Chicago Chamber Opera’s Maria la O by Lecuona, soloist in William Schuman’s On freedom’s ground  and Elijah with Sinfonia da Camera, Mozart’s Requiem, Duruflé Requiem and Haydn’s Mass in Time of War with Glacier Symphony and Great Falls Symphony as well as directing the UI production of La Calisto by F. Cavalli. He has also sung the role of El Porteño as well as stage directed a production of María de Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla with Desarrollo Juvenil del Norte in El Paso, TX and Juarez, MX.

Ricardo Herrera is a graduate from The University of Texas at El Paso and The Juilliard School where he studied with Maestro Daniel Ferro. He attended the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program in Italy as a student and now he is an invited faculty member continuing Maestro Ferro’s legacy. He is a member of the Coaching 360 workshop in NYC and founder of HerrVocalis vocal program in Chihuahua City, Mexico. He is a member of the Voice faculty at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served for seven years as Director of the Opera Studio.



Collegiate Committee

William Bokhout, Grand Rapids Community College, Chair
Dr. Jung Woo Kim, Hope College
Barbara McCargar, Aquinas College
Dr. Rhea Olivacce, Western Michigan University
Dr. Charsie Sawyer, Calvin College
Dale Schriemer, Grand Valley State University
Dr. Christopher Ludwa, Kalamazoo College


The Opera Grand Rapids Collegiate Consortium

Thank you to the following regional colleges and universities who have joined forces in support of our Collegiate Vocal Competition!