June 16, 2022

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — While juggling international performances and an opera residency,
soprano Megan Koch ’17 won first place at the National Classical Singer Convention in Chicago last month.

During the convention, Koch sang “Quel guardo il cavaliere”, a piece from the opera “Don Pasquale” by Gaetano Donizetti. Compete with 700 other singersKoch won first place in the Young Classical Artist/Emerging Pro category.

“I was thrilled with the camaraderie among my fellow finalists. I think it’s so important to uplift each other and I was proud to be up there with four unique artists and caring souls,” she said.

2017 soprano Megan Koch won first place in the Young Classical Artist/Emerging Pro category at the 2022 National Classical Singer Convention in Chicago.

IWU Titans Madeline Johnson ’24, mezzo-soprano, who advanced to the second round, also participated in the Classical Singer Convention; Cameron Kidd ’22, soprano, who qualified for the semi-finals; and Lyndsey Notaro, 20, mezzo-soprano, who qualified for the final.

Koch studied music education at Illinois Wesleyan and later attended the University of North Texas to earn a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Graduate Artist Certificate in Opera. Although she experienced “incredible stage fright,” Koch said learning at IWU under associate professor of music Bill Hudson helped her build her confidence on stage.

“That time with him really developed my critical ear, my coaching skills and my performance strategies,” Koch said. “Playing in studio classes several times a semester helped me get my nerves under control.”

Hudson said his students have the opportunity to sing in public and in front of increasingly large groups. He also teaches relaxing breathing techniques and encourages students to get to know their music as well as possible so they can focus any nervous energy on being “productive and exciting, rather than worrying about words or words.” ‘part of the melody’.

“I couldn’t be happier for Megan,” Hudson said. “She deserves all the accolades she receives. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to work with her. I just showed her the way. She’s walking – or running – that way.

Now, Koch said she was able to channel her nerves into her characters on stage and use that adrenaline to energize her singing. Her confidence and talent are evident through the invitations she has received to perform in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and England since graduating from IWU.

“One of my favorite performances happened in the Czech Republic, when my colleagues and I presented a modern premiere of two lost baroque acts by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. The process was incredibly rewarding as the cast was tight-knit and we made the story our own,” she said.

Since 2018, Koch has been performing with Fort Worth Opera House in Texas, where she also trained as artist-in-residence Lesley. Koch is currently in London to perform in the premiere of Taylor Scott Davis’ ‘Magnificat’ at Southwark Cathedral. She is preparing for the next audition season and has high hopes for the year ahead. Koch also recently starred as Berta in Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” which will kick off her debut at Shreveport Opera in Louisiana in November.

“My advice to singers in particular is to work hard on the details, but be prepared to let loose in the performance. It’s equally important to take informed liberties in order to portray the character and have fun doing it. “, she said.

By Julia Perez