Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra to feature NSU Concerto/Aria Competition winners in April 26 concert

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The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will conclude its 56th season with a concert featuring three winners of the NSU Concerto/Aria Competition on Tuesday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

Tickets are $15 and free for Northwestern State, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts students with a current student I.D. Those attending are asked to wear a mask, but they are not required, A livestream of the concert will be available at capa.nsula.edu/livestream.

Douglas Bakenhus is music director of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. Graduate assistant conductors are Ella Victoria Aubrey Castro and Juan Pablo Paternina Paez.

Concerto/Aria Competition winners tenor Landry Allen, soprano Valentina Herazo-Alvarez and Lane Royer on horn will perform with the orchestra. Castro will perform with the orchestra in September. The Concerto/Aria Competition winners were taught by Terrie Sanders, Marcy McKee and Kristine Coreil.

The program for the concert is “An Outdoor Overture” by Aaron Copland, Puccini’s “Qundo me’n vo” from “La Boheme” (Musetta’s Waltz) featuring Herazo-Alvarez, “Il mio Tesoro intanto” from “Don Giovanni” by Mozart featuring Allen, “Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major” by Mozart featuring Royer and “Symphony No. 8 in G major” by Antonin Dvorak.

Allen is a junior vocal education major. He has been member of the NSU Chamber Choir for three years and is the tenor section leader. He has been a part of the NSU Opera Theatre for two years. In 2020, Allen performed the role of Tamino in the NSU production of “The Magic Flute” and the role of the Prince in “The True Story of Cinderella.” In 2021, he performed the role of King Kaspar in “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Allen performed as Basilio in the NSU Opera Theatre performance of “The Marriage of Figaro.” He was a recipient of the Guillory Scholarship in 2021.

As a high school senior, Allen performed the role of Raul, Vicomte de Chagny and was a cast member in the University of Louisiana Monroe’s production of “Phantom of the Opera.”

Herazo-Alvarez is a senior vocal music performance major from Cartagena, Colombia. She is a member of NSU Chamber Choir and was featured soloist and choir member at NCCO (National Collegiate Choral Organization) Conference in College Park, Maryland. In addition to being part of multiple ensembles within the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State, she has toured the Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovakia with the NSU Chamber Choir. On this tour, the NSU Chamber Choir competed against eight internationally recognized choirs and placed third in the world competition.

Herazo-Alvarez was part of the NSU Opera Theatre and played lead roles such as Mother in Humperdink’s “Hansel and Gretel,” Madam Butterfly in Scenes from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and The First Lady in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

Royer is a senior music performance major at NSU. Since his first semester, he has played in dozens of concerts including with the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, NSU Wind Symphony, NSU Horn Choir and the NSU Chamber Winds. He was a member of the Spirit of Northwestern marching band in 2018 and 2019 playing the mellophone. Royer has given three recitals, spring 2020, spring 2021, and spring 2022. In the fall of 2021, Royer won the McCutcheon award for outstanding brass jury. Next fall, he will be attending Indiana University in Bloomington pursuing a Master of Music – Performance.

During his senior year, he joined the Louisiana National Guard as a member of the 156th Army Band, playing the horn. While there, he has performed with the ceremonial band and concert band at several events all while serving the state of Louisiana.