Published on February 26, 2020 by Ashley Smith  

With recent award-winning work across a number of music disciplines, junior vocal performance major Blake Mitchell has proven that exploring multiple art forms can open doors in unexpected ways.

 “Blake is a fantastic representative of the quality of our students, as he exemplifies professionalism, excellence, creativity, dedication, and well-roundedness,” said Associate Professor Joel Davis. “Samford’s School of the Arts provides a unique opportunity to engage with the arts across a variety of disciplines, and to do so at a high level, with excellent instruction, mentoring, and insight from the faculty and staff. Students such as Blake are able to make the most of their time here by finding the connections that exist between the classroom, stage, and studio; in so doing, they end up forging new connections of their own, which spark additional opportunities.”

His accolades include winning the sixth annual Samford Composition Contest this past fall with his Rhapsody on a Folk Tune that will be premiered by the Samford University Wind Ensemble at their concert on April 16.  He competed with musical theatre and opera students in the National Opera Association’s Collegiate Scenes Competition in Cleveland this January, where they won first place in the musical theatre division. 

Most recently, Mitchell won the University of Notre Dame Basilica Schola's 2020 Liturgy Alive Liturgical Composition Commission Competition. His composition will be premiered on Palm Sunday at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. According to Jonathan Hehn, Director of the Basilica Schola choir at Notre Dame, Blake’s composition was “of outstanding quality, and the judging panel reached a clear consensus that yours should be the winning submission in that category.”

A native of Montgomery, AL, Mitchell was introduced to Samford through his experience at the All-State Choir event hosted at Samford. His initial attraction included the A Cappella Choir and the opportunity to pursue multiple interests. He currently studies voice with Brad Diamond, opera with Kristin Kenning and composition with Davis.

He has taken advantage of all that Samford and the School of the Arts has to offer with the encouragement of his peers and faculty. From performances in multiple musical theatre and opera productions to being a member of the A Cappella Choir since freshman year and helping to establish Gracenotes, a new vocal jazz ensemble, Mitchell’s experiences represent a wide variety of what the School of the Arts offers. As well as being a vocalist, he is a gifted instrumentalist with significant training and experience on French horn and piano.

“It is important to know your art from all sides, each pours into the other,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell will continue his work this spring with a performance in Samford Opera’s Into the Woods this April as the Baker and will compete with the A Cappella Choir in France this May.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.