Graduate student heads to national music competition
Contact: Elise Doster Stolzle
HAMMOND – After winning on the division level, Southeastern Louisiana University graduate student Darell Haynes will advance to the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) performance and composition competition March 28-31 at Emory University.
Haynes placed first in vocal performance at the MTNA South Central division competition held at the University of Arkansas Jan. 10-11. He will now complete against six other division champions for national vocal champion honors.
Originally from Luling, Haynes is one of the few MTNA competition participants to compete in more than one category – euphonium and voice. Although he will receive his Master of Music for euphonium performance in May from Southeastern, Haynes said his passion has always been singing.
“My mom plays the euphonium, so I grew up playing the instrument and have always felt comfortable with it,” Haynes said. “I have been singing since I was a child but didn’t have any real formal training until college. I always loved voice but I never thought I was good enough, so it’s crazy to think that singing is the reason I’m heading to nationals.”
Haynes, an operatic baritone who studies with Southeastern music professor Stephen Rushing, performed eight songs for the MTNA South Central judges, including pieces in Italian, German and French.
“Dr. Rushing hasn’t given up on me and I’m glad he hasn’t,” Haynes said. “If it wasn’t for his encouragement, I would have never pursued my interest in voice. While my degree will not be in voice, I have studied it like it is my major. I believe I am a good vocalist because I am a good instrumentalist and vice versa. I’ve finally learned to how to make both talents work together.”
Haynes’ euphonium professor at Southeastern is Andrew Larson. Haynes is an active member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi and vice president of membership for the national honorary band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi. Haynes also spends his free time coaching the “Ya’ll Quartet,” a four-piece euphonium and tuba band formed by Southeastern undergraduate students. The students are planning to travel to area high schools this semester to showcase their talents and recruit new students to Southeastern’s music department.
After graduation, Haynes plans to pursue another master’s degree in vocal performance and hopes to land a leading position in a major opera company.
“I love singing because it speaks to your soul, and every song gives off a different emotion,” he said. “If I could be able to feel like that every day at my job, it would be great.”