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Vocal Awards

Joel Dolven & Joy. B. Misenhimer Awards

One of the Mendelssohn Club's main contributions to furthering vocal music is the annual vocal award competition, named for the late Joel Dolven, who conducted the Mendelssohn Club from 1952-1967. Each year, the Club provides cash awards to young male and female vocalists to encourage their study.

Past Winners

Award Categories

The Club offers up to four awards, one in each of three categories: Novice Division, for students aged 16 through 18; Intermediate Division, for students aged 19 through 22; Advanced Division, for students aged 23 through 29; plus the Joy B. Misenhimer Encouragement Award, open to any student in the competition who demonstrates outstanding singing potential. Award winners also receive two tickets to our Spring Concert, where they are recognized and their awards handed out. In addition to the awards, students gain valuable experience through participation in the audition recital. Some past winners have even appeared as soloists with the Club.

Competition Format

Contestants sing two selections. One of the selections should be from the concert, lieder, opera, or art song repertory. There is no language or memorization requirement, although memorization is strongly recommended. Contestants are encouraged to invite guests to attend the audition.

The Club hires two judges who are professional musicians and have extensive experience in the evaluation of vocal skill and musicianship.

2019 Competition

Information about the 2019 competition will be posted here in January of 2019.

2018 Results

The 2018 competition was held at New Covenant Presbyterian Church, 916 Western Avenue, Albany, on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The judges this year were Dr. Susan Boddie and Jason Dashew.

  • The winner of the Novice Division was Nicholas Contois.
  • The winner of the Intermediate Division was Lauren Nash Silberstein.
  • The winner of the Advanced Division was Joshua Gurwitz.
  • The Misenheimer Award was presented to Francesca Primeggia.

Visit our past winners page to see the results of earlier competitions.