July 4, 2018 9:07 AM

Millikin commercial music major competes in international singing competition

Aly Gabriel, a sophomore commercial music major at Millikin University, is making her mark in the music world. The Edwardsville, Ill., native recently capped her first year at Millikin by being named to the Dean's List, and recently returned from an international singing competition where she placed within the top 18 contestants of the 18 to 32 age group and was among 1,500 competitors.

Gabriel competed in the international singing competition through the Classical Singers Music Festival in Boston, Mass. In a recent interview with the Edwardsville Intelligencer, Gabriel explains how she learned about the competition from Millikin Coordinator of Vocal Studies and private vocal teacher Dr. Justin John Moniz.  

"He basically, throughout my freshman year, really helped me find performance opportunities because that's really what I want to do is just go perform as much as I can," said Gabriel. "He actually competed in the Boston competition when he was my age."

Gabriel performed two musical theatre songs for the competition.

"I just did it because in my mind it was just another performance opportunity, but I wasn't expecting anything," said Gabriel. "I didn't want to get my hopes up. Basically I was just doing it to get myself out there."

The 18 finalists in the 18 to 32 age group competed individually singing a single song in front of a panel of four judges. "I remember going into my audition, I was nervous definitely, but I also knew just to get that far I was so grateful already and honestly surprised just because I knew that considering my division was 18 to 32, I was probably one of the youngest to advance. It kind of just blew my mind a little bit," said Gabriel.

Gabriel added, "It was one of those opportunities that when I got home it gave me that mentality that I'm going to keep pushing and working at this because of the success that I got, but also the success that I saw through other people – I want to be them. It was awesome. It was a really good experience."

Gabriel says Dr. Moniz played a major role in inspiring her to open her eyes to other opportunities.

"He told me, even though I want to go into one specific genre, perhaps that right now when it comes to the music world, knowing as much as you can and being open to as much as you can and stretching your mind and your abilities and your genres as much as you can will only benefit you," said Gabriel. "I'm going to take as many opportunities as I can and each one will build me as an artist, strengthen my skills and help me learn new things."

Aly Gabriel
Photo courtesy of the Edwardsville Intelligencer