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WCU Senior Wins NY Vocal Competition

There are so many good singers on TV's reality shows today that some get lost in the chorus, but the special ones stand out. That's true for Ashley Vitale, a West Chester music education major, who just took first place in a New York contest. She's pocketing $25,000 and heading to Nashville in a few months to audition for multiple record label executives.

A senior from Levittown who began singing in elementary school, Vitale auditioned in May for Empire City's Lucky Break, hosted by Empire City Casino in Yonkers and airing weekly on Sunday afternoons on New York CBS affiliate WLNY. She impressed everyone, and capped her performance with Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and "I Hope You Dance" by Leeann Womack, as well as Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now."

Her gigs as lead singer with popular East Coast cover bands The Benderz (September 2011 to September 2012) and The Big House Band (since February) accustomed her to a tight schedule – then came the birth of her daughter Mariah (now nine months old), her return to WCU after a maternity semester, and her Lucky Break.

"This was the most exciting experience of my life, aside from giving birth!" Vitale admitted.

"I feel extremely blessed that God has given me a talent so that I can inspire others. Studying with both Dr. Stephen Ng and Dr. In Young Lee [WCU assistant professors of applied music] as voice teachers, plus many other wonderful professors at WCU, has molded my craft and shaped me into the singer I am today."

Vitale studies classical music at WCU, but her favorite genre is country/pop music.

"I would love to get an opportunity to record with a label and relocate to Nashville. I plan on focusing on my original career from here forward. I am a songwriter and this competition has motivated me more than ever."