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Hitting the right notes

If you’ve gone to a musical here at Missouri Western or have been to an event featuring a singer, there’s a chance that you know about Adrienne Collins.

Collins is a music major with an emphasis on vocal performance here at Missouri Western, and she has been heavily involved with many events on and off campus.

“The first show that I did here was ‘The Telephone’ by Menotti,” Collins said.  “I’ve done ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ ‘The Magic Flute,’ and shows that were in collaboration with theatre like ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Phantom.’”

Her list of activities goes far beyond the stage.  Collins has participated in several competitions over the course of her Western career.  She was selected as a finalist in the Classical Singer Competition twice and took first place in events like the National Association of Teachers of Singing as well as the MWSU Concerto/Aria Competition.

“Not only do I try to hone my craft as a performer and as a singer on the stage, which is what I want to do professionally, I also try to participate in competitions that are going to look good on my resume and hopefully boost my credibility as a performer,” Collins said.

Furthermore, Collins is very active when it comes to teaching and tutoring students.  She mentors students at the Student Success Center over time management techniques and how to overcome typical college obstacles.  Collins is also a tutor at the Center for Academic Support.  Due to the fact that she also participates in a variety of competitions, Collins’ schedule is certainly hectic.

“To me, I don’t see it as busy; it’s just what I do,” Collins said.  “As a singer, you always have to be on top of your game.  Even today during my lunch hour, I was in the computer lab and I was just researching competitions and auditions.  I guess that I’m just one of those people that don’t like to see opportunities slip away; I don’t want to have a lot of free time.  I want to get out there and share my gifts.”

Dr. Susan Carter, the director of vocal studies at Missouri Western, believes that Collins has what it takes to succeed in her field.

“What makes Adrienne stand out is her ability to really focus,” Carter said.  “She’s able to make plans, set goals and eventually meet those goals.  She realizes that success is a process, not an instant win.”

Collins also shares her musical talents with others, teaching both piano and voice to a variety of people and not just students on Missouri Western’s campus.  Ali Fowler, a senior at Saint Joseph Christian, has been taking voice lessons from Collins for nearly four years, and believes that they have helped improve her voice dramatically.

“The overall confidence in my voice, she’s helped me with that a lot,” Fowler said.  “She’s helped me to understand the range that my voice can have and that I can hit notes that I didn’t think that I could.”

Fowler attributes these improvements to Collins’ excellent teaching.

“She so sweet and encouraging,” Fowler said.  “She always encourages me to try new things with my voice. She’s shown me that I can do a lot more than I thought that I could four years ago.”

Collins has also been teaching 8-year-old Ashlyn for around three years in both voice and piano.  Ashlyn’s mother, Rhonda Ford, explained how integral Collins is to her daughter’s growth as a musician.

“As a singer, Adrienne gets all of the credit for the progress and the development of Ashyln’s voice,” Ford said.  “She has just done a tremendous job of helping my daughter to develop that natural gift and talent that is there,”

Through all of the musicals and performances that she has done, all of the lessons and tips that she has given to students, Collins has made herself known on and off campus, and doesn’t see her schedule as a hindrance, but as an advantage.

“I don’t see it as a burden,” Collins said of practicing for her numerous performances. “It’s just fun for me.”

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