Kiara Kiah, soprano, pictured here giving a solo performance during EMU's 2018 Music Gala.

Kiara Kiah takes third, on to national singing competition

Eastern Mennonite University soprano Kiara Kiah recently placed third in her division at the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Region National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) audition – she now advances on to national preliminaries.

Kiah competed virtually by sending in audition videos, as the in-person competition in South Carolina was cancelled due to COVID-19. You can listen to audio from one of her audition tapes below – “Somehow I Never Could Believe” – a synthesis of traditional opera and American musical theater.

Kiara Kiah singing “Somehow I Never Could Believe” from Street Scene by Kurt Weill, the composer’s seminal American opera. She is accompanied by Ryan Tusing on piano.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Kiara, who is a remarkable human being with a terrific soprano voice; however, you’d never know it – except to hear her sing – given her unassuming, down-to-earth demeanor,” said Professor James Richardson.

“It feels amazing to know I’ve made it this far, being out of the ‘competition game’ for a while,” Kiah said. “I’ve proved to myself that you don’t need to attend the most expensive music conservatory to be successful … as an African American female in opera-classic singing, it feels amazing to represent my people and put us on the map.”

“This win, which advances Kiara to the national student auditions, puts her in the upper echelon of collegiately trained vocalists between here and the west coast – many of them from the most elite schools and conservatories,” said Richardson. “Furthermore, this feat speaks to her and her peers’ (with whom she competed) fortitude, given the challenges posed by the current, COVID-19 landscape. The singing must go on!”

Hear another of Kiah’s audition tracks below: “St. Ita’s Vision.”

Kiah singing “St. Ita’s Vision” from the Hermit Songs by Samuel Barber, accompanied by Ryan Tusing on piano. Richardson says “the song cycle Hermit Songs is among the great works of vocal lit from all time and certainly a staple of the past century.”

Discussion on “Kiara Kiah takes third, on to national singing competition

  1. I only knew her as a sweet student until recently when I also became aware of her beautiful talent!!! Kiara you are amazing!!

  2. Kiara, I am proud of you, even though we don’t know each other. My husband and I worked at EMU for many years and I am confident that you received excellent voice training……I am biased, of course. What EMU could not do is give you the talent you have nor the stamina , work ethic or will to accomplish what you have. Congratulations. I will follow your career path to see where it takes you/or you take it:) I wish you the very best.
    mamie mellinger

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