Already considered one of the most promising vocalists at Lawrence University, Alisa Jordheim has captured the ears and hearts of many. She has just been named a national finalist in the prestigious Arts Recognition and Talent Search program. The ARTS program is a demanding competition for high school seniors and other 17- and 18-year-olds. William Banchs, president of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and an ARTS Week program sponsor, called the chosen finalists “the best of the best. They are our country’s artistic future.” This prestige attracts applications for voice, film, dance, writing, jazz, photography, theater, visual arts, and writing from all over the world. This year, out of an initial pool of almost 6,500 vocalists, Jordheim was chosen from 130 finalists. From these singers, she was 1 of only 10 vocal finalists invited to an all-expenses-paid trip to Miami. “You can’t go into something like this expecting much. I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than expect anything,” Jordheim said. Despite her modest mindset, Jordheim was named a “Level 1” national winner, the highest award in the voice category. Jordheim received a $3,000 scholarship and is now eligible for the $10,000 ARTS Gold Award. Extremely grateful just to be invited to this competition, Jordheim did not expect such impressive results. “It was nice to escape the academics of Lawrence and be able to just concentrate on my music, and be able to be surrounded by so many talented singers.” Jordheim eagerly took a week off from school to participate in this demanding, extraordinary competition. She was put under a strict and busy schedule starting at 7 a.m. and ending at least midnight every night. The performers filled their days with master classes, private lessons, showcases, auditions, etc. As hectic as it sounds, they were also judged on their daily performances, showcases, and solo audition pieces as well as their overall attitude and relations with others. Jordheim maintains that the atmosphere and the relationships formed between the competitors made it seem like it was not a competition at all. “You run the risk of running into self-involved performers, but everyone was so nice. It was so rewarding to see people do what they do. Everyone was able to admire other’s talents,” said Jordheim. While the actual award was highly gratifying, Jordheim was also grateful for the verification it gave her. Upon returning to Lawrence from her trip, she realized the ARTS program provided a confirmation of what she wanted to do with her life. The judges affirmation of her potential just helped to further establish her aspirations. Says Jordheim, “The most rewarding part about this experience was bonding with the other singers, being able to spend so much time with them while giving and receiving feedback. I realized how much I love singing.