Academics, Campus wide, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Music

CSU student to compete in national singing competition

By CSU Media | April 20, 2021

The Horton School of Music at Charleston Southern University is proud to announce that Samuel Polk, sophomore music education – choral major, has earned entry into the National Preliminary Round of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Student Auditions. This progressive audition first required Polk to finish with a qualifying score at the district level in South Carolina, and then to finish in the top five at the recent NATS Mid-Atlantic Region Student auditions. 

Samuel Polk, sophomore music education – choral major, has earned entry into the National Preliminary Round of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Student Auditions. Photo provided

The Mid-Atlantic Region includes districts from North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland-D.C. and Virginia. This year, the Region auditions were virtual and had a record-breaking 799 applications for the event. Polk competed in the Second Year Classical Tenor-Baritone-Bass Voice category. He also competed in a music theater category.

In the next step of the auditions, he will submit three contrasting art songs and arias via YouTube to be adjudicated by a panel of NATS judges. The top 16 go on to compete in the final rounds culminating at the Summer Workshop held in July. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every stage of this competition has been held virtually with video applications.

Polk is from Moncks Corner and began his formal music education at the age of nine as a member of the University Children’s Chorus at CSU, under the direction of Jean Breza. With the children’s chorus, Polk was given the opportunity to perform multiple times at Piccolo Spoleto and also performed as a member of the street-urchin choir in Bizet’s Carmen, featuring Denyce Graves presented by Charleston Opera. In high school, Polk was consistently accepted to ACDA and SCMEA All-State Honors choirs and sang with the Singers of Summerville under the direction of Dr. Valerie Bullock. When choosing a college, he said that God wanted him back to where it all started, Charleston Southern. 

Eight voice students from the Horton School of Music at Charleston Southern University have earned awards in two separate National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Student Auditions, competing in nine different categories
Sophomore Samuel Polk (back row, second to left) is seen here in early 2020 with eight other CSU students in the Horton School of Music. Last year, they advanced to compete at the Mid-Atlantic Region NATS Student Auditions, originally scheduled for mid-March at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference at the University of South Carolina. The auditions were moved online due to the pandemic and were held March 27-29, 2020. Photo: l-r (back) Aleah Walker, Samuel Polk, Meghan Roum, Jared Rogers and Kalb Linen-Yates. l-r (front) Adelaide Lovelady, Madeline Krigbaum and Bethany Lytton.

Currently, Polk is a voice student of Dr. Jill Terhaar Lewis and sings with the CSU Concert Singers and Singing Buccaneers, both under the direction of Dr. Dustin Ousley. On Sundays, you can find Polk sitting at the piano in his home church in Pinopolis, playing the hymns which drew him to a love of music and love of Christ as a child.


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