From Dreams to Reality: Colin Aikins and the CS Vocal Competition

From Dreams to Reality: Colin Aikins and the CS Vocal Competition

Many have experienced the joy that comes from belting it out in an empty house, but few have the dedication it takes to turn it into something more. Colin Aikins (18) is proof that dreams really can become reality.

Aikins fell in love with opera at the young age of ten while playing Andrea Bocelli YouTube videos. He kept his passion quiet for several years before he courageously asked his parents to take voice lessons. His 14 year old rendition of “Nessun Dorma” brought tears to his parents’ eyes and a “yes” to their lips.

For the next four years, Aikins went above and beyond what anyone thought he would. He had the good fortune of connecting with voice teacher Maria Spacagna of Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Spacagna wouldn’t normally accept such young vocalists, but Aikins potential and natural talent were too much to ignore. Together, this unlikely partnership was able to refine and polish Aikins’ vocal instrument. The hard work and dedication paid off as Aikins won his first competition – the Schmidt Vocal Competition at the National Opera Center in New York City. He has continued to excel, performing at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, with opera singer Giada Valenti, and at Highmark First Night in Pittsburgh. He has won scholarships to Eastman University and University of Miami Frost School of Music Salzburg Summer Program, as well as being accepted by Curtis Institute of Music and Juilliard.

Then last year in Chicago, Collin won First Place winner of the CS Music Vocal Competition in Chicago. But winning the competition wasn’t the only benefit from his competition experience. 

When asked what first led him to compete at the CS Music Vocal Competition, Aikins said, “My voice teacher, Maria Spacagna, told me told me about the competition and convention and told me it would be a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the best teachers in the classical singing community.”

“The CS Music Vocal Competition and Convention is an incredible opportunity to put yourself out there, gain real life experience, and learn from the best of the best. “The convention is a dream come true for a young singer to attend.  My first experience there was when I was a sophomore. It was amazing to be able to immerse myself in music for the entire weekend from the masterclasses I attended to sitting in on seminars from top voice teachers in the country and having the opportunity to perform and receive feedback.” said Aikins. “But the best part was meeting other kids from around the country who share the same passion for music that I do.”

For Aikens and hundreds of other singers in similar positions, the CS Vocal Competition isn’t the end goal—it’s a jump start into the next phase of their vocal and performance progression. Aikins hopes to leverage his success at the competition into new opportunities in the coming months and years. More importantly, though, perhaps someday he can be the inspiration for other young dreamers.

The CS Music Vocal Competition and Convention is open for all classical and musical theater singers from high school to emerging professional. If you would like to participate in our 2018 Vocal Competition and Convention in Boston, it’s not too late! You can compete in the first round in Boston and take advantage of the Expo and Masterclasses and Audition Feedback Experience (AFE) all taught by university professors and professionals. As Aikins says “I participated in Classical Singer for two years, and wish I had done it sooner!For more information, click the link below!


Alex Stoddard

Alex Stoddard is the President and CEO of CS Music and Classical Singer magazine. Since 2003 Alex has been involved heavily with CS in advertising sales, the CS Vocal Competition, the CS Convention, and the development of the website Alex graduated with a B.A. from Brigham Young University and a M.S. from Utah State University. He currently lives in Lehi, UT with his wife Becky and their 6 children and is a high school basketball coach on the side.