Tres McMichael '19 wins first prize at national competition

The senior won first place in the National Hall Johnson Spiritual vocal competition on June 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tres McMichael at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Tres McMichael ’19 won first place in the National Hall Johnson Spiritual vocal competition on June 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The competition is sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing every other year. McMichael began this journey by competing in two preliminary competitions this past spring semester. He was a winner and regional qualifier in North Carolina, and then subsequently a winner at the mid-atlantic regional level, which consisted of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. He then qualified for the National level, and was invited to compete against 13 other students from around the country. 

As part of winning the national competition, he received a monetary prize  and a scholarship to study at the American Spiritual Intensive at Bay View. He stated he is “beyond blessed to have had this experience and sing music he feels deep in his soul across the country.” 

McMichael‘s voice professor and faculty mentor, Polly Cornelius, advised him to compete in this particular category at the National Association of Teachers of Singing annual competition. They spent the entire spring semester traveling, and not only vigorously training his voice, but consulting African American spiritual experts and scholars to grasp the historical contexts and texts of each spiritual. “Tres did the necessary work, and has such a beautiful and powerful voice,” Cornelius said. “I believed he could make it all the way to the Nationals and win the entire competition, and he did just that.”

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, McMichael is a double major in music theatre and arts administration with minors in leadership studies, African and African American studies and business administration. He is an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow, Elon Engagement Scholar and a recipient of the Leo Lambert Scholarship. As a senior, his Elon credits include: “A Raisin in the Sun” (Travis/BoBo), “Parade” (Ensemble), “Grand Night” and Collage. He has also been a featured soloist for “Numen Lumen: Thursday Inspiration.” 

On campus, McMichael also serves an apartment manager for the Station at Mill Point Neighborhood and as president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He has worked as an acting apprentice for Mill Mountain Theatre in Virginia, assistant director for Maryland Leadership Workshops and has participated in internships with the A BroaderWay Foundation and NAACP.