2024 Competition for Colorado Singers

​Congratulations to the DLOG Competition for Colorado Singers 2024 Winners!

The DLOG Competition for Colorado Singers Final was held March 23rd, 2024. To see the incredible performances this year, check out the 2024 Finals performances available on DLOG YouTube.

Listed below are all the Finalists along with their awards. Special thanks to pianist Jeremy Reger   for his always impeccable accompaniment. And thank you to our Finals Judges Sarah Cambidge, Christian Pursell, and Jason Ferrante. And a final great thank you to our Committee members and our technical team for another superb year of competition!



First Place Galen & Ada Belle Spencer Foundation Award

Miguel Angel Ortega Bañales | Tenor

The Mexican tenor and pianist, Miguel Ángel Ortega Bañales, discovered a strong passion for music in the choral and vocal acapella setting at the age of 20. Miguel A. Ortega is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder studying with Matthew Chellis, where he has received a Teaching Assistantship appointment to earn a master’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy as well as choral conducting. Ortega obtained his bachelor’s degree in music performance from Berea College, during which he held a position as vocal TA and served as a piano collaborator for the music department. Since August 2020, he has served as Assistant Conductor at Eklund Opera, University of Colorado Boulder. Recent appearances include productions with Boulder Bach Festival and Central City Opera Touring Artists.


Second Place Kenneth King Foundation Award

Claudia de Lourdes Díaz  |  Soprano

Claudia Díaz

Claudia de Lourdes Díaz is a Puerto Rican soprano raised in the beautiful city of Caguas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance with honors from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico in 2020. Ms. Díaz has won several prizes at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Puerto Rico District. She has attended famous vocal training programs including the Vozarteum Opera Festival (2019), Houston Grand Opera’s YAVA (2021), the Bologna International Opera Academy (2021), and the Prague Summer Nights Festival (2023). De Lourdes has been studying closely with Heidi Melton, a renowned Wagnerian soprano, for the past four years. Ms. Díaz is finishing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. As part of the Lamont Opera Theater, Ms. Claudia covered Alcina in Händel’s Alcina and performed as the Water in Portman’s The Little Prince. This past April she made her role debut as Helena, one of the Lovers, in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This summer, she will work for the Lamont Summer Academy as a residential counselor. After winning second place in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition this spring, Ms. Díaz is preparing for a Performance Certificate in Vocal Performance at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where she will continue her training with Prof. Heidi Melton..


Third Place Myrle F. Hoffman Memorial Award

Randy Ho  |  Tenor

Currently, Randy Ho is an Artist in Residence at Opera Colorado. Performing a diverse range of characters, including Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Philistine Messenger (Samson et Delilah), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), and Ramiro (Cenerentola). During the 2022-2023 season, as a Jan Miller Studio Artist at Pensacola Opera, Randy performed in their productions of La Bohème and Carousel, following his professional debut with Opera Saratoga as Ernesto (Don Pasquale). In the upcoming summer season, Randy will be covering the role of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and participating in the world premiere of Gregory Spears’ opera, The Righteous, and La traviata at Santa Fe Opera. Randy has gained recognition through his involvement in esteemed programs and competitions such as Carnegie Hall’s Song Studio. A finalist in the Premiere Opera Foundation Voice Competition and recently a Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Additionally, Randy has showcased his vocal prowess as a concert soloist with prominent ensembles, including The National Repertory Orchestra, Pensacola Choral Society, and The Denver Spirituals Project.

Fourth Place Gary & Gayle Landis Award

Saane Halaholo  |  Soprano

Tongan-American and California native Saane Aziza Halaholo is already gaining recognition as a promising, young lyric soprano. Her 2023-2024 season includes covering Cio-Cio San in Cincinnati Opera’s new co-production of Madame Butterfly, joining Opera Colorado as an Artist-in-Residence to cover Donna Anna in Don Giovanni as well as perform Giannetta and Clorinda in touring productions of The Elixir of Love and Cinderella, and participating in the Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist to cover Giunone in La Calisto and perform Edith in Pirates of Penzance. Ms. Halaholo’s training includes prestigious institutions such as Wolf Trap Opera, where she was a three-time Studio Artist, the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music where she earned her Artist Diploma and Master of Music degrees, and the Bob Cole Conservatory at California State University, Long Beach, where she earned her Bachelor of Music


Fifth Place Shirley & Marlis Smith Award

Eric McConnell  |  Bass-Baritone

Denver native bass-baritone Eric McConnell is quickly garnering acclaim in American opera and musical theatre communities for his distinctive dramatic voice and theatrical interpretations of both comic and tragic characters. He began his 2023-2024 season with the Missouri Symphony and Landlocked Opera singing the title role in their joint production of Le nozze di Figaro this September. He then travelled to the DC metro area for a role and company debut as Escamillo in Carmen with Bel Cantanti Opera. In 2024 he returned to Opera Fort Collins to reprise the title role in Le nozze di Figaro before making his role and company debut with Shreveport Opera singing Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte. Spring 2024 will bring him back to his musical theatre roots in a crossover production of Beauty and the Beast with Opera San Luis Obispo as Gaston. He then debuts at the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, playing the roles of the fiendish dentist Orin Scrivello in Little Shop of Horrors and the shabby uncle Betto di Signa in a double bill of Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost. His season concludes with his third appearance at Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, where he will portray the Wolf in Into the Woods.


Sixth Place Carole Johnson Award 

Jenna Clark  |  Mezzo-Soprano

Jenna Clark, mezzo-soprano is a versatile and compelling artist based in Denver, CO. Ms. Clark graduated from the University of Denver with a dual concentration Masters degree in Vocal Performance & Choral Conducting and is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at the University of Colorado – Boulder. In the 2023-2024 season, Ms. Clark will sing the alto solos in Mozart’s Requiem and Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro as a part of the Crested Butte Music Festival (August 2023). She also performed the role of Mistress Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff at CU-Boulder (October 2023), joined the Colorado Bach Ensemble in their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah (December 2023), performed the role of Cherubino in Opera Fort Collins’ production of Le nozze di Figaro (February 2024), and will join the chorus of La Bohéme under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin as a part of the 2024 Bravo Vail! Festival (July 2024).


Seventh Place: $2,500 Marcia Ragonetti Award

Mackenzie Laun  |  Soprano

Mackenzie Laun, Soprano, is a Denver native. She holds her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Music Education with an emphasis in conducting from Colorado State University. She spent nine years as a public high school choir teacher in Jeffco, but now enjoys the life of a stay-at-home mom and freelance singer. Mackenzie sings professionally all over Denver with groups like St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, Anima Chamber Ensemble, and Elus Vocal Ensemble. Some of her favorite past engagements include soprano soloist for Mozart’s Requiem with St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, soprano soloist for Bach’s Magnificat with Colorado Christian University, Pousette in Massenet’s Manon with Boulder Opera, and Lisette in Puccini’s La Rondine at UNC.


Certificate of Merit: Jackie Writz in Honor or Marlis & Shirley Smith Award

Alice Del Simone, Soprano

Certificate of Merit: Julie Johnston in Honor of Harry Williams Award

Kerby Baier, Soprano

Certificate of Merit:  Pam & Mike Mignoli In Honor of Dori Kavorkian Award

Elijah English, Counter-Tenor

Honorable Mention Sponsored by Tom and Mary Conroy

Mykayla Fitzpatrick,



Kacie Kenton,



Adam Hirama Wells,



Marcia Ragonetti Exceptional Mezzo Award

Jenna Clark  |  Mezzo-Soprano



Smart TV Viewing Instructions

DLOG streaming events may also be enjoyed from your TV. For viewers with Internet-enabled Smart TVs, Roku devices, or other TV streaming devices, download our handy guide for how to set this up: DLOG TV Viewing Guide.

Contribute to our mission while engaging in exciting events! A great way to meet opera lovers and support budding singers of tomorrow.

“One of the first competitions I participated in was Denver Lyric Opera Guild. Through the encouragement and feedback of the visiting judges and financial support of the Guild, I had the means to continue to pursue my “opera addiction.” As young artists, we encounter so many hardships, disappointments and setbacks. But because of DLOG, when these blows came down, I still had the means and encouragement to push through.”

Megan Marino

multiple year Competition winner and Metropolitan Opera and International Opera star