Meet CSU’s 2015 singer of the year, Justin Little

singer of the year 2
Little, second from left

Justin Little is not one to plan things out. He did not plan on winning Singer of the Year. In fact, he did not plan on being in the music program at all.

Hailing from Colorado Springs, Little came to Colorado State University as an undeclared major with an interest in computer science, hoping to write books and design video games based on them. With a few high school musicals and choir experience under his belt, singing was a passion but not necessarily something he planned on pursuing. However, before long his desire for singing became difficult to ignore, and when the choice between taking a choir class and a computer science course presented itself, Little had to decide to pursue his passion.

“I remember talking to my roommate at the time, asking him what I should do,” Little recalls. “And I remember him asking me if I loved singing so much, why was it even a question?”

Little decided to change his focus to music and within a year was accepted into the competitive Vocal Performance program as a baritone vocalist.

Little said he entered the Singer of the Year competition with plenty of practice, help from his professor Dr. John Seesholtz, and prayer.

“I hoped to win,” Little laughs. “But I went into it with no expectations; I try to go into everything very humble.”

So what was Little’s first thought upon winning?

“Oh cool I won!” Little said. “To me, winning the competition just means more confidence, and building a reputation for applying for things post-grad. I don’t think of myself as some great artist, I just want to make music.”

True to form, Little is not planning any specific goals for the future but instead simply planning on seeing where his talent takes him. He is hoping for a role in the next two operas before his graduation in May 2016 and is also auditioning for two New York City Metropolitan Opera competitions as well as a program with Emerald City Opera this upcoming summer. He also hopes to continue pursuing missionary work, another passion of his, in Norway.

In Little’s words, “I will move wherever I am called to go.”

CSU’s Singer of the Year Competition

Singer of the year
Little, far left

This popular annual competition features CSU’s finest undergraduate vocal students competing for awards and scholarships. The awards include the $5,000 top Singer of the Year Award, the Charles and Reta Ralph Undergraduate Scholarship, the Most Improved Award, and the James McDonald Memorial Scholarship. The awards are based on the students’ vocal performance and on progress toward their degree. The jury of judges consists of CSU voice faculty Tiffany Blake, John Seesholtz, Susan Hochmiller, Steven Aguiló-Arbues, and guest adjudicators.

Other awards from this year’s competition:

  • Charles and Reta Ralph Undergraduate Scholarship: Ingrid Johnson, mezzo-soprano, sophomore, B.A. Vocal Performance
  • Most Improved Award: Annie Schoephoerster, soprano, freshman, B.M. Music Therapy
  • James McDonald Memorial Scholarship: Schyler Vargas, baritone, junior, B.A. Vocal Performance

The University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society.

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This article was written by Mikhail Talley