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home : news : arts & culture June 25, 2019

3/3/2019 12:01:00 AM
Vale's Alexandria McNeely Among Competing Singers
Alexandria McNeely
Alexandria McNeely

Thomas Lark
Staff Writer

LINCOLNTON, N.C.––Each year, singers come to Lincolnton from far and wide.

They come from Europe. They come from Africa, as in fact several are this year. They all come from around the world to compete in the annual Heafner-Williams Vocal Competition, which helps discover and promote new vocal talent for the world of classical music.

But Alexandria McNeely hails from right here in Lincoln County. As competition foundress and world-renowned opera star Carolyn Heafner of Lincolnton noted this week, McNeely, a native of the charming rural community of Vale, is a dramatic soprano and a student of sacred music and vocal performance at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory.

Heafner extolled McNeely for her abundant ability.

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“Alexandria is a bit of a rare bird,” she remarked. “She studies with Judith Burbank at Lenoir-Rhyne University. She started there with the Lenoir-Rhyne Youth

Last summer, McNeely traveled to Urbania, Italy, where she took part in the city’s famous opera workshops. She performed in various Italian opera scenes, as Heafner informed. 

“She is a marvelous budding talent,” Heafner added.

McNeely is the daughter of Crystal Burns Sargent. A Lincolnton-based hairstylist, Sargent recently sang her daughter’s praises.

“She is amazing,” she said, “and I’m beyond proud she is mine! She goes to college full-time, typically taking 19 credit hours each semester; holds down a job; is a member of the honor society; sings in the community choir like an angel; and travels all over, auditioning for grad school. She got called by 10 of them! She is super-dependable, generously and genuinely loving and caring towards her friends and family, and best of all, she loves to hang out with her mom! I love you to the moon and back again, sweetheart!”

The Heafner-Williams Vocal Competition is open to singers 18-35, who reside in or are enrolled in schools in the Carolinas and Virginia. The event will be held March 16 at 11 a.m. (the semi-finals) and March 17 at 3 p.m. (the finals, with a reception to follow) at the Lincoln Cultural Center. It is free and open to the public.

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