Cleveland Singer wins PIL

By Anna Rollins and Caroline Diamond

Cleveland sophomore Mikaela Clarke took first in the PIL mezzos individual singing competition, winning with a score of 99 out of 100.

This is the competition that qualifies singers for state. It is a one-on-one recital between the student performer and a judge in which the student must sing two pieces, at least one must be in a foreign language. The judge gives feedback after the performance and each competitor receives a score out of 100. Each soloist performs in their tonal category.

After receiving a 90 last year at PIL, Clarke came back excited for feedback to improve her skill. She sang two pieces. The first, Far from the Home I Love, a ballad from “Fiddler on the Roof,” Cleveland’s spring musical that Clarke took part in. She was able to connect with the message. “I felt a lot more emotion because I was in character,” said Clarke. “I could think about what the character had been through and how she had to leave everyone she loved and go to Siberia.”

The second was A Des Oiseaux by Gabriel Fauré, a French song meaning “to the birds.” Clarke explained, “It is more of a happy piece, more excitement. This one is more technical. It doesn’t mean as much to me but I still understand what it means.”

With a score of 99, Clarke won the competition, and she received various tips and feedback for her future recitals. Her judge had her repeat it in order for Clarke to have a full understanding. “I was just looking for feedback, I wasn’t even treating it as a competition,” Clarke said. Even so, her talent shone through advancing her to state.

Singing has been a large part of Clarke’s life for many years. She began taking voice lessons in seventh grade and continues them today along with singing for the Cleveland Dettes. Clarke normally sings low soprano or high alto. “With solo pieces,” Clarke explained, “I sing a mid to high range.”

Clarke will be singing A Des Oiseaux as well as Evensong by Liza Lehman and Constance Morgan at state. “I’m excited to go and get feedback from really experienced, knowledgeable judges. [To] listen to other singers and be able to learn from them. I’m not gonna put too much presure on it because I want to have a good experience and learn from it,” said Clarke. Wish her well as she takes on Oregon’s top soloists at state.