Passion for performing

WWU student wins young artist competition

Heidi Kissinger, senior fine arts and music major, won first place in the Young Artist Competition in Hermiston, Oregon, earlier this year. In addition to a cash prize, Kissinger was awarded the opportunity to perform with the Inland Northwest Orchestra in late April. 

Kissinger has had a love for music since childhood. In middle school, she began participating in choirs and started performing at a young age. Kissinger originally began at WWU as a music minor, but quickly realized that she enjoyed music to the point that she wanted to give it a stronger emphasis in her life. She is now a music major with a voice concentration and participates in both ICantori and University Singers. 

Interested in vocal competitions, Kissinger asked her voice instructor Christine Janis, professor of music, about applying. Janis suggested she enter the Hermiston Young Artist Competition. Kissinger, one of four students who competed, performed “Vedrai Carino,” an aria from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni,” for the competition. Kissinger recalled being nervous when she saw the judges begin writing during her performance and explained that the goal of performing is to make the song look effortless. “You are thinking about several different things at once including breath support, intonation, mouth shape, and consonants,” said Kissinger. 

According to Kissinger, while she was excited to win the competition, getting feedback from the judges was what mattered to her most. Kissinger’s opportunity to sing with the Inland Northwest Orchestra will be her first solo performance with an orchestra, and she expects it to be memorable. The performance will take place on April 29 at 4 p.m. in the Hermiston Community Center. 

Passionate to continue pursuing music, Kissinger has plans to study opera and vocal technique in graduate school and eventually to earn a doctoral degree in music. “Most of all, I want to keep performing,” Kissinger said. “I love to sing, and I want to fully embrace the songs I perform and to envelop the audience within them.”

To learn more about the Department of Music at WWU, visit

Posted April 5, 2023

Heidi Kissinger