Dear Ms. Alba,

While everyone likes dramatic stories, the making of most careers doesn’t happen like a rocket launch. It happens slowly, hour by hour in the practice room, day by day in the crook of a piano with a coach or teacher you trust, year by year of flights, auditions, competitions. But one day you look up and realize you’re living the dream. The lead role is offered, the mezzo you have always been in awe of is inspired by you, the concert halls you’ve always yearned for are echoing your tones. This is where I find myself because of the incredible Lois Alba Aria Competition. The support you give to young singers to fund their slow evolution is invaluable. It vitalizes the transformation of caterpillar daydreams, into the reality of those who can fly.


 Raehann Bryce-Davis, Mezzo-soprano (2016)

In 2011, I won second place. From then on, my fate was sealed. I not only received a monetary prize given to me by Robin Angly, but I walked away with Robin’s support and the support of many others that has carried me throughout my vocal career.  Through her competition, Lois endowed me with confidence and the wherewithal needed to persue a career in operatic music. She has always believed in me and spoke positive affirmations into my life, thereby, I was able to go forth and accomplish quite a bit.  Since becoming a prize winner, I went on to win other vocal competitions such as the Gerda Lissner and George London International Vocal Competitions.  I have won awards such as the Hildegard Behrens Award and Lincoln Centers Emerging Artist Award. I have graduated from the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.  I have been a guest singer at Lois’ competition on three different occasions. The most recent being in June 2018. I was able to have Ken Noda from the Met’s Lindemann Program accompany me in “Ah dagli scanni eternei” from Verdi’s Stiffelio.  I am currently in Frankfurt, Gerrmany performing Verdi’s La Forza del Destino. Previously, I was Aida at Opera de Lorraine in Nancy, France and the soprano in Verdi’s Requiem at the Deutche Oper in Berlin.  I am grateful to have met Lois and been a part of her prestigious competition. It is place where a young singer can grow, discover, and have all the guidance needed for a future in opera singing.

Kindest Regards,

Michelle Bradley, Soprano (2011)

The biggest thing that competing in and winning the Lois Alba Aria Competition did for me was give me the confidence to continue pursuing this career. We opera singers experience tons of rejection and while most of us have learned to handle it, it can still wear down even the most confident of us. Competing with such excellent artists helped me to realize my unique talents and to really pursue this crazy dream! I took the prize money and funded two winter seasons of auditions in New York City. The funds helped pay for application and audition fees, travel to and from NYC, housing, and lessons/coachings with industry professionals. Those auditions led to a few jobs, which led to more and more each year! Without the money and confidence boost from the competition I am sure I would have given up, but instead I am living solely on my income from singing. I am even debuting my first Verdi Requiem this season, something I have been wishing and hoping to sing for years!!! A huge thank you to you and all the donors that support young singers.

Thank you,

Robyn Marie Lamp (2016)

Good evening!

This is Schyler Vargas a Kathy McRee Audience Favorite winner in 2017.  I apologize for not keeping in great contact since my participation, but I wanted to let you know of the many successes that have come since competing in the Lois Alba International Aria Competition.  First of all, the prize that was awarded to me quickly became a scholarship, as I was about to begin my graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where I used the money to pay for text books for the first semester. (Yes, that is how crazy higher education has become.)  A fun fact about how the competition impacted my studies at CCM – it was to my surprise that I found Amber Monroe, third place winner of the same year, in the same studio as mine at CCM!  Since the summer of 2017, I performed Maximillian in Candide as my CCM Opera debut. In the spring of 2018, I competed in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Voice Competition in Colorado and won 2nd place. The summer of 2018, I joined The Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist where I played Chino and covered Riff in Francesca Zambello’s production of West Side Story (with the original Jerome Robbins choreography), I sang in the Trio of Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, and was a German Soldier in Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night. After a successful summer at Glimmerglass, followed the production of West Side Story to The Lyric Opera of Kansas City and The Atlanta Opera where I played a slightly bigger role, Diesel.  Now, in 2019, I am scheduled to perform Samuel with Dayton Opera’s Pirates of Penzance, as well as returning to The Glimmerglass Festival to perform Marchese in La traviata, Frank in Show Boat, and cover Beaumarchais in The Ghosts of Versailles.  I share all of this wonderful news because I believe that the Lois Alba Aria Competition and the Soma International Foundation provided, not only a high profile performance opportunity, but also a chance for me to invest in my education. My experience with the Lois Alba Aria Competition was vital to my growth as a young opera singer because it allowed me to perform and receive feedback from working and influential professionals in the industry. Receiving their feedback, in addition to being affirmed by the results and prize from the competition prepared me to tackle the next challenge of my career confidently.  Thank you so much for your time and I hope to apply and participate again soon!

All my best,

Schyler Vargas, Tenor (2017)


I would have to say that the prize money I won last year helped in so many ways. As an artist, it can be so difficult to become financially stable in any way. That prize money last year helped me feel secure in my finances for the entire year and as a result, helped me become a better performer because I wasn’t worried about paying my bills. That can really be half the battle. This year, I have some updates on my career and a new role debut!

My website is:

Teresa Castillo, Soprano (2018)

Dear Ms. Alba,

Your competition was a pleasure to be part of and has helped me to move forward in my singing. Having a first prize from the aria competition on my resume and website gave people another reference and endorsement if they didn’t know me personally. Especially as a soprano it is important to have titles and references to distinguish oneself from the hundreds of other great sopranos. The prize money that I won also afforded me the chance to take extra coachings that I may not otherwise been able to. Additionally, I have used the recordings taken at the finals on my website and for applications quite regularly. I hope that this is helpful and that your 2019 has started out well. I really appreciate the opportunity that you and the Lois Alba Aria Competition gave me.

 Best Wishes,

Amanda Kingston, Soprano (2014)

Leah Knight

I am writing to recommend a wonderful competition in Houston in which I recently participated and won second place – The Lois Alba Aria Competition, named after retired singer Lois Alba.  The competition was wonderfully organized (and it was their first year), professional, and the judges were personable.  I had no trouble finding a rehearsal room and both the semi-finals and the finals were in excellent singing spaces.  The competition was selective and all finalists were well trained and well prepared.  I was very impresses with the level of singing I heard backstage and during the finals.  Additionally, the prize money was well worth the two day time commitment.

Leah Knight, Soprano  (2006)