Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition

January 2017, Santa Barbara, CA $8,500 in prizes to be awarded

Stay tuned for guidelines for the new competition cycle, which will be posted by summer 2016.

(Prior round) Guidelines for 2016

Jennifer Lindsay
Jennifer Lindsay,
2015 Artist Div. Legacy Award

The Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition is conducted annually in two divisions: The Artist Division and the Scholarship Division. Preliminary auditions are heard by recording. Twelve finalists and two alternates are selected in the Artist Division and six to eight finalists and two alternates are selected in the Scholarship Division to compete in a live final audition. The final auditions will be heard at the NOA Annual Convention in Indianapolis, IN, on Saturday, January 9, 2016.

2016 Eligibility and Fees

  • The Scholarship Division is open to singers aged 18-24, as of January 9, 2016 who are currently enrolled in, or have completed since May 1, 2015, undergraduate or graduate programs, or their equivalent. Entry fee for the Scholarship Division is $30 (thirty dollars).
  • The Artist Division is open to singers aged 25-40, as of January 9, 2016. Entry fee for the Artist Division is $60 (sixty dollars).
  • There are no residency or citizenship requirements. The competition is open to all singers who meet the criteria for the appropriate division.

Competition Guidelines and Requirements

  • Singers in the Scholarship Division must present four opera arias in contrasting styles and periods, in three languages, including one originally in English, at a level appropriate to their vocal development. The audition chair reserves the right to reject unsuitable repertoire. One of the four may be an operetta or musical theatre selection.
  • Singers in the Artist Division must present five opera arias in contrasting styles and periods, in four languages, including one originally in English. The audition chair reserves the right to reject unsuitable repertoire. One of the five may be an operetta aria, but musical theatre selections are not permitted in the Artist Division.
  • Applicants must submit two recent audio recordings, with piano accompaniment, of two of the arias to be offered in the competition, including appropriate recitatives.  Do not submit video files or recordings with orchestra.  Contestants are urged to use the best possible equipment and location for the recording, and to verify that the audio files (MP3 or M4A format) play properly before submitting.
  • Preliminary and semi-final rounds of adjudication are heard by a panel of three judges and finalists are chosen based on recordings submitted. Finalists compete for prizes in a live audition before a panel of three distinguished judges.
  • Travel expenses to the final competition are the responsibility of the singer.
  • Finalists may request changes in repertoire once accepted to the competition, but all changes must be approved by December 20. No changes are permitted after that date. Both selections submitted for adjudication in the preliminary round must be included in the repertoire list for the Finals. Finalists will use accompanists provided by the competition.
  • Prize winners will be announced immediately following the competition. The winners will be presented in a winners’ recital and receive their awards at the Awards Banquet Saturday evening.
  • By submitting their application to the competition, applicants grant NOA permission to use their submitted headshots and video/audio recordings or photographs of the competition or winners' recital for promotional purposes on the NOA website or other forms of publicity.

Application Procedure and Submission Information

  • The deadline for submission of the online application and online payment (external link) of the entry fee is October 16, 2015.
  • Applications to the competition are submitted using the online application form [ENTRIES NOW CLOSED].  Before beginning application, please be prepared to provide or upload the following:
    • Name, mailing address, and other contact information
    • Repertoire list (aria, opera, and composer) of four (Scholarship Division) or five (Artist Division) selections to be offered for the competition
    • Two audio recordings in MP3 or M4A format, with a maximum file size of 15,000kb (15MB).  (TIP: If your sound files exceed the file size limit, you can use a tool such as: to reduce the file size without noticeable loss of sound quality).
    • Scanned legal proof of age showing date of birth (e.g. driver's license, passport, etc.).  Allowed formats: PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG
    • Headshot for publicity purposes.  Allowed formats: JPG, GIF, PNG
  • Applicants must pay the entry fee online using the Secure online payment area (external link) to complete their submission.  The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Incomplete applications, applications with unplayable sound recordings or illegible proofs of age, or applications without accompanying application fees will not be processed nor judged.
  • Notification of finalists will be made on or before December 5. Contestants not chosen as finalists may receive notification after December 5. All notifications will be sent by email, so a valid email address is essential, as well as a mailing address that will be accurate for the month of December.



Limmie Pulliam
Limmie Pulliam, 2012 Artist Division Winner

Singers in the Scholarship Division compete for three awards: the Nicholas Vrenios Memorial Award of $2000 to the first-place winner, the Constance Eberhardt Memorial Award for second place, and the Clifford Bair Memorial Award for third place, both ranging from $500 to $1250.

Singers in the Artist Division compete for three awards: the Todd Duncan Legacy Award to the first-place winner, the Vrenios Family Award to the second place winner and the Marjorie Gordon Award to the third place winner. These and other possible prizes range from $500 to $2500.

The American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) grants scholarships for summer study at the AIMS Graz Experience in Austria to the first place winner in each category.

In addition to the above, the Legacy Award of $500 is presented to an outstanding contestant of racial or ethnic minority, at the discretion of the judges.


Questions regarding the competition may be addressed to:
Benjamin Brecher, competition chair, at , or to
Robert Hansen, Executive Director, at or by calling 806-651-2857.

2016 Finals

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 NOA Vocal Competition held in Indianapolis, IN on Saturday, Jan 9, 2016

Previous Winners