Posted on May 12, 2010 by Tia Lalani

Christopher Thrall interviews Halley Bailey, Augustana BMus ’09 and winner of a $10,000 music scholarship to the University of Victoria.

By Christopher Thrall –

Local mezzo-soprano Halley Bailey, a Bachelor of Music (’09) graduate from Augustana’s Vocal Performance program, has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship to pursue her Master’s degree at the University of Victoria in September.

“Oh, I’m so excited,” said Bailey over the phone, “I’m moving away from Camrose for the first time, and Victoria is such a great location. It’s going to be very different!”

The 22-year-old barely had time to speak: besides a full-time job in Groves’ Value Drug Mart, Bailey teaches voice lessons several evenings per week and coached seven students for the Camrose & District Music Festival, where she also performed with her own family. The skilled pianist and voice instructor tries to spend time with friends when she can.

However, despite her current success, Bailey was an uncertain first-year student at Augustana. “I was never sure what I wanted to do,” she admitted. “I went into Music thinking I should have gone into English.” However, under the instruction of Professor Kathleen Corcoran and choral director Dr. Ardelle Ries, Bailey blossomed into an accomplished musician and an exceptional student.

Halley Bailey received not only choral and vocal scholarships each year, but also academic and leadership scholarships: an Augustana Board of Regents Award; Louise McKinney, Jason Lang and Verda and J.D. McNeill Scholarships; and an Onesimus Award for outstanding service and leadership in the community. During her time at Augustana, she was selected as Alberta’s alto for the National Youth Choir (an honour choir for 18-25 year olds) and earned a performance spot in an Edmonton Vocal Masterclass given by U.S. acclaimed opera artist, Delores Ziegler.

“I have grown so much in the last five years,” says Bailey. “I received individual attention at Augustana that I don’t think I would have received at a bigger university,” she says. “I met a lot of friends in choir, and learned a lot about teaching from Kathleen [Corcoran] and Ardelle [Ries].” Dr. Alex Carpenter was her music history professor and taught her to dissect the meaning and emotion within the music she studied, while she learned to build a harmonious relationship between vocalist and pianist with Dr. Roger Admiral, her accompanist and professor of music theory.

Bailey learned the joy of teaching from Kathleen Corcoran, she says. “She so obviously loves teaching, and enjoys the challenge of working with different individuals with different voices and different approaches.” Bailey focused on learning vocal performance, but also learned vocal pedagogy – the way to teach – from her time at Augustana.

With the University of Victoria scholarship, Bailey plans to learn more about music, and more about teaching under Director of Voice Benjamin Butterfield. “I’m excited to pass on everything that I learn to my own students,” she says, with thoughts about the difference she could make in her students’ lives. “I really understand the shyer students – the ones who have a hard time expressing the emotion of music.” Bailey credits her time at Augustana with helping to bring her out of her own shell.

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