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Golden-throated Del Mar College singers earn accolades at regional competition

Article by: Michael Bratten

Three singers from Del Mar College’s (DMC) Department of Music hit a high note this spring when they earned first place and finalist titles at a competition held by the South Texas Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).


These students are the best of the best from this semester. They have a very good work ethic. They realize the possibilities that will come from taking opportunities like this to compete and they reached out and grabbed it.
Cynthia Longoria, Professor of Music and Vocal Instructor

At the Student Auditions contest, held March 24 at the University of Mary Hardin–Baylor in Belton, DMC student Lazaro Rocha took first place in the Adult Beginner category, while his fellow singers Delia Castillo and Denae Fox were named finalists in the Freshmen Women category.

Other participants were DMC students Elijah Garza and Roberto Garza, who competed in the College Musical Theater and Classical categories, and Emma Ehle, who competed in the High School Musical Theater category.

Lazaro said he never envisioned himself winning a vocal competition when he started attending DMC.


It means a lot, really. When I first started college, I wasn’t vocal. I was just kind of sailing through, but when I started studying vocal music, things started panning out.
Lazaro Rocha, student singer

Preparation for the competition is intense and time consuming, Longoria said. The students had about three months to learn and memorize three songs, some of which are in a foreign language.

Longoria often chuckles when her students are surprised to be named winners.

“Sometimes we teachers are surprised, but we have a good idea when we head over there who is going to do well in their category,” she said.

There are usually 250 to 350 student competitors from colleges, high schools and universities at the South Texas Chapter NATS contests, and it’s rare if DMC singers aren’t named semifinalists or finalists each year, Longoria added.

Besides private vocal lessons with Longoria, DMC singers learn to cultivate their voice from Dr. Greg Graf, DMC assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. Graf accompanied the students on piano in Belton.


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.