Mary Hoskins chosen as second place winner for Classical Emerging Professional category
Though she grew up surrounded by music, Mary Hoskins had no plans to pursue it as a career. “My family sang all the time,” she said. “It was just something we did for fun. It wasn’t until I was done with high school that I even started to think of it as something people did for work.” All that changed after applying to the BYU School of Music on the advice of vocalist and summer camp director Isaac Hurtado.
Now an accomplished vocalist, Hoskins has made a name for herself in a highly competitive field. Her most recent honor is winning second place in the Classical Emerging Professional category of the CS (Classical Singer) Music Online Competition. The winners, chosen from among thousands of audition videos, were announced during a live online final round.
“Getting feedback from people like [judges] Robert Ainsley of Washington National Opera, Frederica von Stade, Nathan Gunn and Denyce Graves was incredible,” Hoskins said of her experience. “They were so encouraging and gave me a direction to keep working on my voice. I think my favorite moment was when Nathan Gunn said I made my aria sound like ‘Happy Birthday.’ In other words, I made it look easy. That meant a lot.”
Hoskins, from Saratoga Springs, Utah, is a BYU graduate with bachelors and masters degrees in vocal performance. As a student, Hoskins embraced her time with vocal professors Darrell Babidge and Mindy Ammons. “Darrell always encouraged me to think big picture and push my voice to be what it is now, and you can’t have a better voice mom than Mindy,” Hoskins said. “She taught me so much about breath support and trusting my instincts.”
Ammons recalls not only Hoskins’ talent but also her character. “When people first meet Mary, I think they’re a little surprised: she doesn’t exude the high-octane drive many performers display,” Ammons said. “Instead, Mary is humble and gracious, treating everyone equally; she is a unique and rare individual. She sees the good in others, is always positive and encourages her peers in their pursuits and achievements.”
Hoskins often pushes herself to work harder after listening to her younger brother Jonah, who was recently named as a winner in the Met Opera National Council Auditions. “He has always been the first person to tell me I’m amazing and that I’m going to do great things,” she said.
Strong work ethic is a quality Ammons has always admired in Hoskins. “She is teachable and willing to work hard. She learned quickly and came to lessons well-prepared,” Ammons said. “Her preparation became an important factor when the semester suddenly shifted to online teaching in mid-March due to COVID-19. She still had her graduate recital to perform — a requirement for graduation — and she had to make the decision to give it in a matter of days rather than weeks. She was not only ready, but she gave a stunning recital that was broadcast live for friends and family to view remotely.”
As for future plans, Hoskins knows for certain that she wants to sing and perform. “I don’t know what level of performing I will get to do, but I really feel called to keep trying,” she said. “Music fell into my lap. I would never have picked it without my Heavenly Father giving me a shove in that direction. That’s what keeps me going.”