Opera & VoicePursue your

Friends University has some of the best opportunities for vocal talent to learn and grow.

The perfect place to start.

Opera is alive and well at Friends University! Pursue your passion for singing in an award-winning, nurturing small liberal arts university environment exclusively focused on undergraduates.

Start your future in music.

Program Highlights

Your path to a career.

The Bachelor of Music in Performance degree offers majors in vocal and instrumental areas (keyboard, woodwinds, brass, strings, jazz, and percussion).

Four related degrees

Choose from bachelor’s degrees in Vocal Performance, Music, Music Education and Music Theatre.

Scholarships Available

Music scholarships include the special Anita George Vocal Scholarship. These are awarded on the basis of audition regardless of degree program.

Tradition of Excellence and Instruction

With a tradition of vocal excellence that includes individual instruction with caring, accomplished professors

Schedule an audition.

Opera Ensembles & Opportunities

Where the fun begins.

  • Two fully-staged productions of opera or music theatre with orchestra per academic year
  • Experienced, award-winning voice faculty
  • Dedicated one-on-one music preparation, vocal and language coaching
  • Summer opera and Italian study with Opera Seme in Arezzo, Italy
  • Science-based voice education with a focus on vocal health and cross-training in multiple styles
  • Advanced training opportunities in voice pedagogy and science

  • Opera/Musical ProductionsMusic for the stage at Friends University promotes the development of young artists through the performance of level-appropriate works, the practice of stagecraft and deportment, and experience in technical skills, such as costuming and set construction. Students may receive Opera Workshop credit through participation in both opera and musical productions. Music degree students, as well as qualified students from other majors, are eligible to audition for productions, which include one annual large production, as well as opera scenes or excerpts from operas or musical theatre.
  • Voice Science and PedagogyDiscover the science behind the anatomy, physiology, and acoustics of the singing voice, participate in cutting-edge singing voice research, and develop your voice teaching talents through guided teaching practicums.


Awards & Accomplishments

Many of our opera productions and singers have won awards at regional and national levels! Here are a few we’re particularly proud of:

  • National Opera AssociationThree consecutive national finals appearances in the National Opera Association Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition (2020, 2021, 2022).
  • NATS West Central Region CompetitionMore regional finalists at the 2022 NATS West Central Region Competition than any school in Kansas, and the most first place winners (5) of any university in the competition at all levels.
  • NATS National SemifinalsSix National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Semifinal Appearances over the last four years.
  • The Mikado2nd Place, 2018 National Opera Association Opera Production Competition. The Mikado >
  • Scene from AlcinaFinalist, 2021 National Opera Association Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition. Alcina >

Featured Faculty

Charleen Ayers

Charleen Ayers

  • Voice Performance
  • Fine Arts
  • B.S. Music Education, William Jewell College; M.M. Vocal Performance, Yale University
Rolaine Hetherington

Rolaine Hetherington

  • Assistant Professor of Music/Applied; Voice (directs Concert Choir)
  • Fine Arts
  • B.A. Piano Performance and K-12 Music Education, Hendrix College; M.M.Ed. Music Education, M.M. Vocal Performance, Louisiana State University
Nathanael May

Dr. Nathanael May

  • Professor of Music; Tim & Gail Buchanan Division Chair of Fine Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M. Piano Performance, University of Wisconsin –Whitewater; M.M. Performance and Literature, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester; D.M.A. Performance and Literature, University of Kansas
Rayvon Moore

Dr. Rayvon T.J. Moore

  • Assistant Professor Music, Director: Choral Studies
  • Fine Arts
  • B.A. Choral Music, University of Southern California; M. M. Choral Conducting, California State University, Fullerton; D.M.A. Conducting, Eastman School of Music
Georgeanne Yehling

Georgeanne Yehling

  • Voice
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M. Vocal Performance, Oklahoma City University; M.M. Opera Performance, Wichita State University

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