Alumni Success

by Wendel Sloan

Jennifer Poyer, coordinator of design and content in Communication Services at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, will audition for "The Voice" television program at 7 a.m. on Feb. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Her mother and an aunt will accompany her.

A former All-American in volleyball and basketball who is in the ENMU Athletic Hall of Honors and the Lone Star Conference Hall of Fame, Poyer often sang the National Anthem before ENMU games and has been singing since grade school.

Throughout her childhood in San Antonio, Texas, she frequently sang at churches.

In a 5th grade musical the role of Moses was changed to Mrs. Moses because she had the best singing voice in the class.  At a performance rehearsal at a Catholic church she spotted some communion crackers and, being hungry, ate them.

When Poyer was in seventh-grade choir she was bullied by some eighth-grade choir girls.  When she returned home from college, she saw one at a movie theatre and she apologized to Poyer.  She said, “We were so jealous of you because when you opened your mouth to sing you sounded like an adult.  I was so grateful because I’d carried that judgment with me for years and I was able to let it go.”

Poyer, still ENMU’s all-time leading scorer in basketball and first in blocks in volleyball, said, “Music has always been a part of my life.  Many in my family have been involved in singing and performing.  My uncle and his husband, who had to go to London to get married, are involved in community theatre in Pennsylvania.  My dad’s sister sang in rock bands.  My mom’s sister was a lounge jazz singer.  My grandmother has a beautiful voice.”

In high school, Poyer, who has four siblings, was named to the Texas High School All-State Choir three times, including First Chair as a soprano II her senior year.

An all-state volleyball and basketball player, she received several offers of music and sports scholarships to NCAA I universities.  However, she accompanied her older sister Samantha on a recruiting visit to NCAA II ENMU, and liked head basketball coach Wayne Moore so much she accepted his scholarship offer to join her sister—who was transferring from Texas Lutheran University.

Married to head ENMU volleyball coach Sia Poyer, and mother of three children, Poyer says career and family responsibilities had forced her to put her singing passion on a backburner.  But, after being encouraged by an ENMU graduate at an alumni golf tournament in Albuquerque to not give up on her passion, she decided to audition for “The Voice.”

Competing against thousands of singers, Poyer will have to make it through four audition rounds to appear on the program.  If she makes it to the third round, she will sing on camera, and the fourth round includes being interviewed on camera.

Singing in an alto to soprano II range, she has to provide backing tracks for several songs she is still deciding on to perform.  Her genres range from modern pop to rock to jazz to country.

To brush up on her skills, she will be taking weekly voice lessons until the audition.

At her wedding, she sang country singer Keith Whitley’s “When You Say Nothing at All” with her younger sister Dee Garvin, also an ENMU grad.

“Singing was my dream when I was young, but I’ve had to put it aside.  Connecting with other people is my thing.  I love how people respond when I am singing something that’s meaningful to them,” Poyer said.

“I’ve always kind of struggled with my self-esteem, and when I see someone connecting with my performance it is very validating.  My main love language is definitely words of encouragement or seeing someone’s emotional response.”

Judges for “The Voice” currently include Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine, Alisha Keys and Miley Cyrus.

“If I get that far, I’d probably choose Shelton as my coach because he seems to really want to get to know you as a person,” Poyer said.

“I don’t think I could choose Adam Levine because it would be too distracting.”

See a video of Jennifer singing “Amazing Grace” at:
https://youtu.be/dm4FKBJvfD0

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