By UL Lafayette Office of Communications and Marketing
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Madison Russell will celebrate its 21st birthday by performing with the American Pops Orchestra on April 10 in Washington, DC
The major junior of vocal performance considers the chance to sing with an internationally renowned orchestra an early gift.
It’s a gift she gave herself.
Russell was one of 10 finalists selected from a group of 30 singers who competed in the semi-finals of the orchestra’s “NextGen: The Voices of Tomorrow” virtual competition on Saturday, November 21.
The next day, she learned how much a panel of Broadway singers, recording artists and viewers who voted on thought about her rendition of “My White Knight”. The song is taken from the Broadway musical “The Music Man”.
Russell, a native of Zachary, Louisiana, secured a berth in the semifinals after recording a video of herself singing a one-minute segment of “My White Knight.” She sent the recording to the American Pops Orchestra in October.
On Saturday, Russell faced students from Berklee College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory of Music and other top schools. “I feel extremely flattered because every artist in the semi-finals was definitely meant to be there.
“I think one thing that pushed me forward is that I sound different from other competitors. As I watched I thought to myself, “If I get to the final maybe it’s because I bring a different sound to the table. My voice has a classic color given my opera background, ”she explained.
Growing up, Russell sang in school choirs and performed in musicals. At UL Lafayette, she is a member of School of Music and Performing Arts‘ Chamber singers and Choral sets. Russell is president of the Ragin ‘Cajun Women’s Choir.
For her next performance with the American Pops Orchestra, she can’t wait to sing “The White Knight” in its entirety. “I didn’t even have the chance to sing my favorite part the first time around,” she said with a laugh.
Russell hopes to be chosen as a “NextGen: The Voices of Tomorrow” winner or female finalist. A second male will also be selected. The trio will win scholarships, a paid performance with American Pops Orchestra and chances to boost their singing career.
“The finalists are placed on a contact list as potential singers when the orchestra plans shows, and I’m happy they now know what my voice sounds like,” she said.
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