Published: May 8, 2017 By

jade and james austin

Junior Jade Espina was named the Presser Scholar for the 2016-17 academic year. Here, Associate Dean for Enrollment Management and Undergraduate Studies James Austin presents her with her certificate.

As we wrap up the semester, we’re publishing conversations with the Music Buffs who were named Outstanding Students by the faculty for the 2016-17 academic year. Today, we talk with Jade Espina, a junior double majoring in vocal performance and choral music education.

College of Music: Where are you from originally?
Jade Espina: I was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, but moved with my family to Fort Smith, Arkansas, when I was 3 years old. I would definitely call myself an Arkansan!

COM: How long have you been singing?
JE: I've been singing since I could remember, and I grew up playing violin and piano from the age of 5. Seventh grade women's choir was my first choral experience, and when I first got serious about singing. At my eighth grade Christmas choir concert, I had a solo in the song "Mary, Did You Know?" and after the concert, one of the voice faculty members at the local college asked if I wanted to start taking voice lessons, so I did! Since then, I have been in choir and orchestra every day, as well as taking private lessons in voice, violin and piano.

COM: What other musical interests do you have?
JE: Even though voice is my main instrument, and I just recently switched from soprano to mezzo soprano, I still play piano and violin as much as I have time for! I've participated in campus orchestra, and I consistently play piano every day for the purpose of being a choral music educator! I also love ballroom dancing, and I specialize in Latin dancing, such as rhumba, salsa, Argentinian tango and flamenco.

COM: What are your plans for the summer?
JE: I’m taking a Maymester course, as well as attending a summer vocal program in Michigan called Up North Vocal Institute. It’s a for four-week intensive program in voice, stage artistry, scene preparation, acting, body awareness and physical fitness. I’ll also be preparing a package of arias and art songs for senior year!

COM: Why do you love studying music?
JE: I love studying music because it brings me constant joy and human interaction. Music has been a part of my daily life and the only consistent area of study that brings the me the most passion and success. It brings me closer to my friends and family and helps me understand myself more and more every day.

Espina was also named next year’s Presser Scholar for the College of Music.