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Voice professor at UNG coaches professional singers in international competition

Voice professor at UNG coaches professional singers in international competition
UNG adjunct professor of voice Bruce Sellers served as a coach for 13 singers participating in the International Vocal Competition held in the Netherlands this January.

Bruce Sellers enjoyed much success during his 30-year professional singing career in the United States and Europe. He spent 20 of those years living overseas in Holland, when the teaching bug bit in 2004.

After returning to America then to take up a teaching post at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, in 2009 Sellers moved back to his boyhood home of Gainesville, Georgia, and was hired as an adjunct professor of voice in the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Department of Music.

"I came back to America to learn how to teach," Sellers said.

His teaching skills and love for his adopted homeland came to the forefront when an old friend, world-famous soprano Roberta Alexander, asked him to participate as a voice instructor with the annual International Vocal Competition (IVC) Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) in the Netherlands in January. Sellers jumped at the chance.

"Roberta told me, 'This opportunity is made for you,'" Sellers said. "I'm used to working with beginners, these were polished, professional artists, who needed some coaching in the musical theatre style."

Sellers and Alexander helped 13 singers prepare for gala concerts in Den Bosch on Jan. 26, and Amsterdam on Jan. 27. The concerts were a celebration of American composer Leonard Bernstein in tribute to his centennial year and were devoted exclusively to his vocal music.

"What most impressed me about these singers was, if I told them to do something, they automatically did it, and you could hear it immediately. It was like driving a Rolls Royce," Sellers said. "For the public master classes I had some friends there that had never seen me teach before and they were really impressed at what Roberta and I accomplished."

For Sellers, leaving was bittersweet.

"It was a week of pure bliss and it was very moving being back in Holland," he said. "I did it and I was glad I could do it. It was like a dream."

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