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Linda Cajigas
Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, April 24, 2009

IU Jacobs School of Music student Olivia Hairston is Indiana "Campus Super Star"

A clean sweep for the Jacobs School

April 23, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Soprano Olivia Hairston, a graduate student at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, took home the grand prize of $5,000 from the 2009 Indiana Campus Super Star competition held on April 19 at the historic Madame Walker Theatre in downtown Indianapolis.

Olivia Hairston

Print-Quality Photo

Hairston's winning number was "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, written for the musical St. Louis Woman and published in 1946.

"I thought it fitting to dress appropriate to the style of the period, even though the song did not become a standard until much later," said Hairston. "Billie Holiday came to mind, who recorded the song in 1952. I tried to embody that."

All five finalists were Jacobs School students, including Bethany Barber, Kimberly Yosslowitz, Blake Koness and Justin Merrick. Each received $500.

The April 19 competition will be broadcast by WFYI-TV 20 Indianapolis on May 28 at 9 p.m.

Indiana's Campus Super Star is a talent competition presented by the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center at Indiana University. It is open to all students enrolled in any of Indiana's colleges or universities. Soloist singers from all backgrounds, representing the full spectrum of musical genres, compete in several rounds for different prize packages, including the grand prize of $5,000.

"Participating in Campus Super Star was both exciting and stressful," said Hairston. "The competition was really tough as there were so many wonderful singers. I'm grateful to the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center, who annually affords this opportunity to Indiana college students. I mean, what college student couldn't use $5,000!"

Hairston has been involved in the IU Opera Theater productions of La Bohème, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, La Traviata and Cendrillon. She has shared the stage with two-time Grammy winner and Jacobs faculty member Sylvia McNair with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra. She taught music for two years at an elementary Charter School in Mansfield, Ohio, before attending IU.

Hairston received her bachelor's degree in music from Bowling Green State University, where she performed various roles, such as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Dorabella in Così fan tutte. She has won the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition in her category at both the state and national levels. She has presented workshops introducing inner-city children to opera.

Singing various genres of music, including classical, jazz, R&B, gospel and pop, Hairston is the lead vocalist for Trademark, a funk band in Bloomington, She will be performing as a soloist in the Mozart Requiem on May 3 at the Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis with members of the Indianapolis Symphony.

Previous voice teachers include Myra Merritt, Jane Schoonmaker-Rodgers, Andreas Poulimenos and Richard Mathey. Hairston currently studies with Alice Hopper.