I’ve always admired and envied those who can sing well, even though I can’t carry a tune myself. And there will be lots of remarkable singing at the inaugural Camille Coloratura Awards, coming soon to Towson. Submissions are being accepted now for this voice competition, which will take place at Towson University. This isn’t your “American Idol” style pop singing contest. It is a celebration of classical voice in the art of coloratura.

What is coloratura? I, for one, had no clue. But Sharen Camille Becker, director of the Camille Coloratura Awards, was happy to fill me in on this complex vocal technique. “Coloratura soprano is a type of operatic soprano voice that specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills," she said. "The term ‘coloratura’ refers to the elaborate ornamentation of a melody, which is a typical component of the music written for this voice.


“We are thrilled to be able to present this competition, with the help of Towson University and so many others, to honor my mother, Camille Julig Herman, a fantastic coloratura singer in her own right.” For her mother, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 75, singing had been a lifelong source of joy.

“My mother was a leader and adamant supporter of the arts," Becker said. "Camille put her passion for singing and singers at the forefront of her life. It is with this spirit that I honor her legacy with this award. The Camille Coloratura Award is offered to students, professionals and accomplished singers who delight and excel in the art of coloratura repertoire.”

Registration/application forms, requirements, submission details and instructions can be found on the Web page www.CamilleColoraturaAwards.com. The preliminary screening submissions of an aria, oratorio or art song (or portion) of choice are not to exceed five minutes in length, recorded and submitted online. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 9.

After the Round One pre-screens have been evaluated, 10 singers and an alternate will be declared semifinalists from each of three divisions: Student (ages 16-24), Artist (ages 25-39), and Accomplished (ages 40+).

The semifinalists will be notified by Sept. 23. The semifinalist performers will gather on Oct. 12 at Towson University between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for Round Two of the competition.

Judges will consider quality of tone, technique, communication, musicianship and stage presence. Singers selected to advance to the Round Three finals that evening at 7:30 will compete for a top prize of $1,500 and an encouragement award of $500.

The event aims to raise awareness and appreciation of this challenging vocal technique, as well as to create unique performing opportunities for promising singers of all ages. The competition day and finalist concerts to be held Oct. 12 are open to the public, and admission is free.

“As my mom liked to quote [Shakespeare], ‘If music be the food of love, play on,'” Becker said. “We truly look forward to hearing the submissions.”