Freshman’s natural ability and hard work lead to success

Music major Daniel Loganbill balances a lot on his plate. He reconstructed his singing voice, starred in a freshman play, became a member of the Cathedral Choir and placed in a state singing competition. All this and he is only a freshman.

Loganbill placed second at the Arkansas National Association of Teachers of Singing competition Feb. 22-23. He was judged to be in the upper 90 percentile of underclassmen in his competition.

“When you consider it’s the cream of the crop of the up and coming talent in the state, to take second overall … it’s a real encouragement,” said Paul Smith, music department head and Daniel’s singing mentor. “It’s an early indicator that there’s real ability there.”

Smith said Loganbill’s performance was not out of the ordinary for the University’s music students. In fact, his performance is part of the University’s yearly performance at competitions.

“Considering the percentage of the kids we take … every year, we’re right up there with bigger schools in terms of how many kids … make the finals,” Smith said. “It just means the quality of education at JBU continues.”

Loganbill looked at a number of schools to possibly attend, all of which would have given him scholarships to study music. He chose the University based on the quality of the faculty and facilities in the music department.

Smith said when they first met, Loganbill was motivated to quickly learn and improve.

“It’s sort of like reining in wild horses. He really, really wanted to start from the starting blocks and win the race, and sometimes you have to dare to be last before you can be first.”

Smith worked with Loganbill to break down and rebuild his voice, to relearn some fundamentals and improve the foundation of his voice.

“I’ve been training for a long time, and I’ve been training to get a bigger, stronger voice,” said Loganbill. “You’re never done learning how to sing.”

In addition to his voice work, Loganbill also starred in last semester’s freshman production of “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” in the role of Jacob.

A role in a drama production was not initially on Loganbill’s radar. Play director Jan Lauderdale convinced him to try out for a part during freshman orientation after hearing from her students about his performance in high school productions.

“When he came to audition, he was really good,” Lauderdale said. “Before he left the audition, I stopped him and said I was considering [him] for a pretty large role. He got the lead.”

Lauderdale praised his performance, his leadership, and the work ethic that allowed him to juggle a busy freshman year schedule.

“He applies himself to everything diligently, but he still knows how to have fun,” Lauderdale said. “He has a very good sense of organization and what needs to happen.

Despite a schedule involving choir, music classes, drama practice, and LSI among other things, Loganbill has stayed motivated through a busier than normal freshman year, especially preparing for the singing competition.

“It was stressful and took away from a lot of sleep and free time,” Loganbill said. “I strive to do my best because I like to be proud of work I’ve completed, I like people to be proud of work that I’ve done, and I want to glorify God with the work that I’m doing.”

Smith said despite the work that goes into having a successful year as a freshman music student, that success, especially at singing competitions, can be a motivator for continued effort.

“When they win when they are [that] young, it really is a shot in the arm that … says you’re on the right track and it’s worth it,” Smith said. “He has a great sense of humor, he has a great personality and he’s very passionate about learning to sing.”