Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition selects senior at Harding
Sophomore participates in Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition and was a finalist in Trinity Presents Concert Series
Disney World All-American College Band Finalist
Harding University alumna starts a music program for inner-city children

Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition selects senior at Harding

Janine Locke, vocal music education major, was selected to participate in the second and final rounds of the Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition. She was one of three undergraduate students chosen with the rest at graduate level.

Locke found out she was selected right before spring break and had a few weeks to prepare five arias for the competition. Arias are self-contained pieces of expressive melodies and are usually operas but can also be in oratorios and cantatas.

In the second round, students preformed one song they chose and one chosen for them by the judges. After everyone had preformed, they each had a 20-minute session with a judge who helped with technique.

“I was so privileged to get to work with Carol Beyers, who is an amazing dramatic soprano who lives in Austria, Germany, and is Kristin Lewis's teacher,” Locke said. “It was kind of a scary experience because she is very intimidating, but I wouldn't trade that experience for the world!”

All of the students had the privilege of chatting and learning more about Lewis.

“The entire thing was kind of surreal,” Locke said.

The final round was like the first; the judges looked more in depth at whether contestants applied what was taught in the breakout sessions.

“One of the things I really liked about the whole thing was how supportive everyone was of each other,” Locke said. “Even though we didn't all know each other, were from different schools, and were competing for the same thing, everyone was so encouraging.”

Locke plans on moving back to her home state of Texas with her husband after finishing her senior year at Harding. She aspires to teach in either an elementary or high school choir position.


Sophomore participates in Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition and was a finalist in Trinity Presents Concert Series

“I left feeling accomplished and certain that I could not have given any more than I did.”

Lois Hegarty, a music performance major, was the only vocal performer named as one of five finalist in the state of Arkansas; three finalists were pianists and one was a clarinetist. 

“To be told that I was a finalist in a competition of more than 40 musical artists was beyond encouraging,” Hegarty said. “It helped me realize that each moment spent in the practice room brings me closer to my goals.”

For the first time, she alone represented Harding in a competition.

She said being the only vocal finalist helped her focus less on comparing herself to the other artists and more on delivering her absolute best performance.

Hegarty, along with senior Janine Locke, competed against graduate level performers in the Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition.

“The competition was an intimidating but wonderful learning experience,” Hegarty said. “It was refreshing to spend time with similarly passionate individuals and experience an unusually challenging environment.”

In the future, she plans to attend graduate school to earn a performance degree in Opera.

“Hearing beautiful, operatic singing caught my attention at an early age,” Hegarty said. “It was a mystery I felt I needed to uncover at some point in my life.”


Disney World All-American College Band Finalist

Austin Westjohn, instrumental music major, was selected as a finalist for a position with Disney World All-American College Band, based in Anaheim, California. He is a trombonist from Conway, Arkansas, and will be a senior in the fall at Harding University.

Disney World All-American College Band has been an institution since 1971 at the Disneyland Resort. This program gives the top college musicians from all over the country a chance to preform and learn at Disney Theme Park and other clinics with world-renown artists.

“This was my second year auditioning for the group, and I was encouraged after making it past the video auditions and being personally invited to the live audition in Dallas,” Westjohn said. “Before I auditioned and had my interview, my family said a prayer in the car. I am a strong believer that God can use anyone wherever he needs them.”

Final auditions were held in five different locations around the nation and Westjohn went to the University of North Texas for his. He noticed about 60 trombonists in his group alone who were trying out for the four open positions.

“I remember particularly a trombonist who auditioned before me who was completing his master's degree at UNT in jazz performance,” Westjohn remarked. “He was incredible — I could hear him through the wall, but I tried to focus on what I do best and not worry about others.”

Although Westjohn did not make the final selection, he did make it into the alternate group. His other auditions went well, and he was chosen to perform at two music festivals in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Miami, Florida, this summer.

“These are very prestigious festivals, and I feel honored to have been selected for both of these and get an experience that prepares me for graduate school and professional performance settings,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord has placed me where he needs me to be this summer and hope that I can use my passion for music to reach out to other people.”


Harding University alumna starts a music program for inner-city children

“Music was a natural part of my family as simple as spaghetti; nothing particularly flashy just expected.”

Rives Rorabaugh, Harding University music alumna, has started a music program for an inner-city Christian school serving students under the poverty line. After two years, she has 420 students in grades K4-8.

Rorabaugh was hired to start a music program for HOPE: Fortis, a Choice school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Students do not pay for tuition at a Choice school and most do not come from Christian backgrounds.

“Who knew that God was setting up a situation where I would be working across economic, political and cultural divides and celebrating his creativity in diversity,” Rorabaugh said. “It was my Harding dream to find a career where I would be helping the hurt and abused to his warm arms for the first time in their lives, but I had no idea it would be in this way.”

Rorabaugh said she did not choose what she is doing now; God did. She wanted to give the children a chance to prove they are capable of overcoming difficult circumstances and excelling, despite their lack of resources or zip code.

“My 425 kids have all gotten a chance to sing, dance, play, analyze, direct and create throughout the year,” Rorabaugh said. “They’ve composed their own music more than their local peers, despite having music for the first time ever last year!"