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UM News
October 26, 2012


Three University of Montana School of Music students will advance to the Northwest Regional Finals for the Metropolitan Opera after sweeping the Oct. 21 National Council Auditions at the Fox Theatre in Spokane, Wash. Neila Getz, Arielle Nachtigal and John Knispel beat out 15 talented singers from the Pacific Northwest to move forward in the prestigious competition.

Getz, of Missoula, is a senior in vocal performance; Nachtigal, also of Missoula, is a junior in vocal performance; and Knispel, of Billings, is a senior in vocal performance and music education. Cynthia Bauder, of Spokane, who graduated from UM last May with a degree in vocal performance, received an Encouragement Award from the competition judges.

David Cody, a professor of vocal performance in the UM School of Music, accompanied the students to the competition and said their confidence and preparation helped the singers stand out.

“They not only sang well, but their characterizations and poise were very strong,” Cody said. “We try to train them that way and give them opportunities in live performance to learn how to deal with all aspects of the audition.”

Cody said the School of Music has produced strong competitors for the auditions before, but this is the first year UM students have swept the field. Judges are not limited in the number of singers they can select to move forward in the auditions, but are looking for singers who are ready to compete at a higher level. The three students each received a $1,000 prize to help cover the expenses of traveling to the next stage of the competition, which will take place in January in Seattle.

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions program is the most prestigious competition in the U.S. for aspiring young opera singers. The country is divided into 16 regions, and winners of the Northwest Regional Finals will compete in the National Semi-Finals round at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City in the spring. Winners of the final audition are selected for the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, which provides training and performance opportunities.

For more information call Cody at 406-243-4691, email or visit



State, Spokane, Wash.


Contact: David Cody, professor, UM School of Music, 406-243-4691,