Vicksburg native to compete in two national singing competitions

Published 8:16 am Friday, February 16, 2024

Hinds Community College sophomore and Vicksburg native Gavin Standish, a member of the college’s choral music program, is only 19 years old, but when he sings he demonstrates the command of someone far beyond his years. Standish is set to compete in two national singing competitions this spring.

Standish is competing in the John Alexander National Vocal Competition sponsored by Opera Mississippi, where he and seven other finalists beat out hundreds of entries from across the United States. The competition will take place Monday, March 4, in Duling Hall in Jackson’s Fondren District.

Standish is also one of five state finalists making the cut for The Sound of Small Town America Competition, sponsored by
the Inspirational Country Music Association, a Christian-centered group hoping to grow the genre. That competition is scheduled for May 28 at the Grand Ole Opry House;s Texas Troubadour Theater in Nashville.

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“Being selected for the John Alexander Competition with Opera Mississippi is an outstanding accomplishment for an aspiring singer,” said Andrew Head, director of choral activities and voice instructor. “Being selected as finalist in both competitions shows Gavin’s versatility as an artist.”

Standish is also a featured artist at Hinds. He was chosen to sing the lead role of Eddie Birdlace in the Hinds’ Performing Arts musical production of “Dogfight,” which runs April 16 through 19.

Standish is a native of Vicksburg where he has experience performing in high school, state, local and collegiate theatres. He is a
graduate of Warren Central High School and is scheduled tol graduate from Hinds Community College in May 2024. He is also a member of Opera Mississippi’s Young Artists Program. He plans to transfer to Mississippi College and pursue a music education degree.

“It’s been wonderful to see Gavin grow as a vocalist,” Head said. “You can train almost anyone to sing given enough time, but for some it comes naturally, and Gavin is a natural. He’s been an excellent student, and we are very proud of him.”

Standish, who sings tenor, said working with Head has made a difference in his performance.

“I feel more confident as a singer,” Standish said. “I know how to use my breath. That was a big thing for me. So, I’m excited
about the competitions and honored to represent Hinds and Mississippi.”

He said Head “has worked with me on stage presence, too, and expression of the music, because I’m not just singing a song,
I’m performing. It isn’t just about the singing or the voice, it’s stage presence, too.”

To learn more about the Hinds Community College Choir, contact Andrew Head at 601-857-3481, or email him at Andrew.