Can You Provide a Quick Overview of this Year's Minnesota Varsity?

The Minnesota Varsity process will unfold over the next months:

  • Young musicians are invited to enter Minnesota Varsity by submit their performance recording via an online entry process. (Be sure to read this year's rules first!) MPR staff will review all entries to determine a first round of finalists — between 15-20 “Featured Artists.”
  • Next, an MPR audio engineer will travel to the finalists' hometowns to make a professional recording and help them sound their best — some recordings may be played on-air on Classical MPR.
  • Finally, a panel of judges from Minnesota's classical music and musical theater scene will choose five “Showcase Artists” to perform on stage in a live Minnesota Varsity show at the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul on Sunday, April 29.
  • The Featured Artists will also perform Minnesota Varsity concerts in Moorhead and St. Cloud in May, on the first-ever Minnesota Varsity tour!

What Are This Year's Entry Categories?

This year, a Minnesota Varsity Entrant must enter in one of the following categories:

  • Instrumental chamber ensemble without conductor (max 8 participants including accompanist) performing Classical Music,
  • Instrumental soloist (with or without accompanist) performing Classical Music,
  • Vocal Chamber Choir (e.g., Classical/Glee Club/Show Choir) without conductor (max 20 participants including accompanist) performing Classical or Broadway Music, or
  • Vocal soloist (with or without accompanist) performing Classical or Broadway Music.

What Types Of Music Can Be Performed?

Classical Music means any music in the tradition of Western sacred and secular music from the 11th century to present times, and is not limited to music from the Classical Period from about 1750 to 1820 (only).

Broadway Music means any music in the tradition of theatrical or motion picture music, and is not limited to music from Broadway musicals (only).

Who is eligible to enter?

Classical and musical theater musicians and vocalists ages 14-18. Your legal residence must be in Minnesota, and you must be currently participating in a public or private school, religious or community music program. Soloists may have an accompanist, but that’s not required. If you need an accompanist, you must provide your own (of any age.)

If I use an accompanist, does that make me an ensemble instead of a soloist?

It depends on the age of your accompanist:

  • If your accompanist is 18 years of age or older, then that person is not considered part of the performance and you’re not categorized as an ensemble.
  • If your accompanist is under 18, does that make us an ensemble? Yes.

How do I submit an entry?

Submit your entry form and your recorded performance of one piece of 10 minutes or less online at http://www.classicalmpr.org/varsity or send a CD or DVD and entry form by mail to Minnesota Varsity, 480 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55101. Application must be postmarked on or before January 19, 2012.

What's My Region?

In order to help facilitate listening and sorting of our submissions, we're asking you to identify your region within the state. State regions are not used as judging criteria.

Do I Need To Have A Professional Recording Prepared For My Submission?

The recording doesn’t have to be high-tech or professional. You can use a smart phone to record the performance!

How will I be judged?

You will be judged solely on your musical performance. MPR Classical staff will screen all the entries, and choose 15-20 performances for the featured round. If you are chosen in the featured round, a professional recording engineer will come to you and help you sound your best. That recording will be played for a panel judges from the Minnesota classical music and musical theater world. The judges will choose the best performances for a live show at the Fitzgerald Theater. See the rules for more information.

Can I submit as both a soloist and an ensemble member?


How many entries can I submit?

You can submit one performance as a vocal soloist and one performance as an instrumental soloist, plus you can participate in as many ensembles as you wish. However, each ensemble may submit only one entry (each).

Is the Artist Statement required?

Yes, but it's only used as background information. You will not be judged upon the content of your statement.

How will my Artist Statement be used?

We may use it on the air, the web or at the Showcase Concert and in any other materials related to Minnesota Varsity.

How Many Entries Will Be Selected In Each Round?

MPR will select

  • no less than fifteen (15) and no more than twenty (20) Featured Artists, and
  • five (5) Showcase Artists and one (1) or more alternate Showcase Artist(s).

Can I make it to the Showcase Round in more than one entry?

No. You will only be eligible to perform in one group/solo performance at the Showcase Event. If you're in two groups/solo performances that are Featured Artists, then MPR will decide which one (if any) moves into the Showcase Round.

What do I win?

If you're chosen as a Featured Artist, you’ll get to work with an audio engineer from MPR to produce a professional recording of your performance. Your piece may also be played on the air and the MPR Classical website.

Each of the five Showcase Artists will receive the following:

  1. A cash prize of $1,000.00 cash prize (total)
  2. One free recording (on CD) of the MPR-prepared recording of their performance (retail value: approximately $300)
  3. Two complimentary tickets to the April 29, 2012 performance at The Fitzgerald Theater (retail value: $15/ticket). If Showcase Artist is an ensemble, then two complimentary tickets will be awarded to each ensemble member.
NOTE: The prize is awarded as a single prize to the Showcase Artist. Except as noted, the prize does not increase if the Showcase Artist is an ensemble with multiple members

What Is The Purpose Of Minnesota Varsity?

The goal of Minnesota Varsity is not to single out the very best musician in the state. It's to encourage young musicians to make music and to be involved in the process of creation with their peers. Minnesota Varsity helps to bring to the forefront the importance of music and arts education in this state and throughout the nation.

What Is The Minnesota Varsity Tour?

This year, in addition to the show at The Fitzgerald Theater, we are adding two Greater Minnesota tour dates and locations. If chosen as a Featured Artist, you will have the opportunity to perform on both or either of these concerts.

The dates and locations are:

  • May 19, 2012 7 p.m.: Gorecki Family Theater in the Benedicta Arts Center at the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, MN
  • May 20, 2012 3:30 p.m.: Concordia College, Moorhead, MN

You are not required to perform at either of the concerts, but are strongly encouraged to consider at least one concert. Travel and lodging for the Featured Artist and one parent/guardian will be reimbursed up to a maximum reimbursement amount determined by MPR. If you are under 18, you must be accompanied by an adult.

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