(December 2, 2014)

Students bring home accolades from NATS

SHREVEPORT, LA —Eight students from Centenary's Hurley School of Music attended the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. (NATS) Southern Region conference in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from Thursday, November 13 to Saturday, November 15.

Centenary NATS participants

Under the direction of Twyla Robinson '93 and accompanied by Daniel Ley '10, students Meredith Ball, Jessica Bato, Kyle Boston, Herman Hope, Mary Ellen Kidd, Josh Ritter, Rebecca Vacha, and David Westbrook participated in the conference and auditions along with over 450 other students and 100 teachers from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

On Thursday, Centenary students sang for a panel of judges and received written comments on their presentations. They also had the opportunity to attend vocal recitals and master classes on such subjects as Using Yoga Techniques for Breathing and Posture and Prayer for Peace: The Great War and Reaction of French Composers through Song. Saturday, students chosen in semi-final auditions competed before an audience for prizes.

Boston, Hope, Kidd, Ritter, and Vacha advanced to the semi-final round on Friday, with Herman Hope advancing to the final round on Saturday. Hope won second place in the lower college music theatre category.

"Conference experiences like NATS are invaluable on several levels," said Dean of the Hurley School of Music Gale Odom. "Students learn what other singers their age are doing and acquire a barometer to gauge their own progress. Attending recitals and classes gives students an opportunity to hear new music and to learn new concepts they may not have encountered during their regular college studies. The competition experience builds strength for conquering set-backs and for coping with difficulties. The NATS conference also bonds students, gets them excited about new music and new experiences, and shows them how to support their colleagues."

Founded in 1944, NATS is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members in the United States, Canada, and nearly 30 other countries. Internationally, NATS is represented in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom, with the number of countries growing every year.