Julia Dreyer ’12 wraps stellar career with strong state showing

Julia Dreyer ’12 (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) finds her inspiration to write and sing in some of the craziest places.

Dreyer is developing a contemporary alternative blend of folk music, inspired by the music on the tapes her great-grandfather gave her from the 1920s. There was also the time she was asked by a friend to help her compose a piece for her graduate recital, and she chose to use Dr. Seuss because she had been reading it to her nephew the night before. She is also composing a piece with text by Dr. Seuss. The night before her friend commissioned the piece, Julia was inspired by the bedtime story she was reading to her nephew, and found it appropriate to use the story in a song.


While her compositions are recreational, Dreyer has enjoyed an accomplished four years as a Vocal Performance major at Marietta College. Just recently she placed second at the state competition — Buckeye NATS Student Auditions — in the senior level women category in Cedarville, Ohio.


Dreyer says she seized on the opportunity for a new level of competition.


“I gave one of my favorite performances in my life. My judges did not look down to write from the moment I started singing until I left. Two of the pieces I sang are light-hearted and humorous,” she says. “The judges were enjoying themselves and laughing so much that I had to add extra long pauses between several phrases of my music! At the awards ceremony, the anticipation was exhilarating. I was disappointed that I didn’t place first, of course! But, I am honored to have placed at all. When I heard the first-place vocalist sing, I was confident that we were equal in quality, as I’m sure were the other voices who placed that day. At a certain point, it is the luck of the numbering system that gets us ordered.”


The event is sponsored by the National Association of Singing and it is the most competitive events Marietta’s students participate in annually. It includes students from nearly all of the state’s colleges and universities including heavy hitters like Ohio State, Baldwin-Wallace, Cleveland Institute of Music and Capital. 


“The Department of Music is extremely proud of the success of Julia Dreyer and all of our students at this year’s state NATS competition,” said Dr. Daniel Monek, Chair of the Edward E. MacTaggart Department of Music. “She is a dedicated and hardworking young lady and has grown to exemplify the ideal of professionalism, musicality and work ethic we hope to instill in all of our students. With so many exceptional music programs in the state of Ohio, we consider it a very positive reflection that students in our Vocal Performance major have placed at the competition in each of the three years we have attended.”


Marietta’s other participants were Conner Busby ’14 (Canton, Ohio), Nicole Futoran ’13 (Brook Park, Ohio), Melinda Morgan ’13 (Zanesville, Ohio), Claire Murphy ’13 (Bethpage, N.Y.), Zach Richards ’15 (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Jessica Taulbee ’13 (Reynoldsburg, Ohio).


Dreyer says she was excited for each of her classmates, especially those getting their first chance to compete at this level. Personally, she approached NATS as an opportunity to prove she belonged with the best.


“It is a big deal to place beside students from larger, more competitive schools such as the Cleveland Institute of Music and Miami University. This is especially true for me because I applied to several conservatories for undergraduate studies but was denied admission,” Dreyer says. “I had not taken any vocal lessons and had not been exposed to the study of art song before college; I sang original folk music. The conservatories did not feel comfortable investing in me on the basis of talent. And I do not blame them. But after four years of vocal study at a school that could give me the individual attention I sought after, I am performing at a quality equal to that of students at conservatories.”


Dreyer is one of nearly 300 seniors who will participate in the 175th annual Commencement ceremony at Marietta on May 13 in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center. She is pleased she took full advantage of the opportunities afforded to her during her four years on campus, including an Honors Thesis and a 2011 Investigative Studies Grant. With this she completed and performed her first song cycle.


The two individuals who have made the biggest impact on her are Dr. Brent Yorgason, Assistant Professor of Music, and her vocal instructor Jessica Kirsten Baldwin.


“I have made a point to get the most out of my education here. I believe the biggest quality of our department is the willingness of my professors to provide me with all the help I seek. So I sought as much as I could, and I am very pleased,” Dreyer says. “I am very fortunate that I was blessed with a teacher who could teach me so well. Jessica Baldwin poured passion, work ethic and a demand for quality into my study. Dr. Yorgason worked with me on my compositions for the four years I was here. He has given me the tools I need to notate what I think. I cannot express how important these two people are to me and to my education here.”


While Dreyer was accepted to several graduate schools, she has decided to concentrate on a performance career in Nashville, Tenn.


“It is my intention to continue studying the works and lives of the composers I admire,” she says. “I will continue building my portfolio and doing personal study, and apply to a more rigorous graduate program when I am prepared for the investment.”