(November 19, 2015)

Four Centenary music students win prizes

L to R: Alex Koch, Mary Ellen Kidd, Kyle Boston, Herman Clegg Hope

SHREVEPORT, LA — Nine singers from Centenary College's Hurley School of Music competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Southern Region Conference November 12-14 in Monroe, Louisiana. Six singers advanced to the semifinal round, and four singers were chosen for the finals round where they won prizes.

"NATS is an incredibly valuable experience. The chance to get feedback from other teachers, to see colleagues at the same level perform, and to hear lectures about the craft is an exciting one," says Twyla Robinson, Artist-in-Residence at Centenary. "To have four students make the final cut of a pool of over 400 singers is incredible and indicative of our students' hard work. No other school, no matter how large, was better represented in terms of sheer numbers of finalists, and I'm incredibly proud of our students and their amazing focus and ability."

NATS competitors were Kyle Boston, Emmaline Dyer, Carlos Gutierrez, Herman Clegg Hope, Mary Ellen Kidd, Alex Koch, Timothy McCoy, Landon Pate, and David Westbrook. Centenary's NATS winners include Alex Koch, 2nd Place Freshmen Men; Mary Ellen Kidd, 4th Place Senior Women; Herman Clegg Hope, 1st Place Lower College Music Theater Men; and Kyle Boston, 4th Place Upper College Music Theater Men.

All four student winners study with Robinson at Centenary. The Centenary Student Government Association supported students in their travel expenses.

"This was my first year participating in NATS, and also my first time entering a competition outside of a school function," says freshman Alex Koch. "For the classical portion, I sang two songs that I have done in the past, Bella Siccome Un Angelo from Donizetti's opera Don Pasquale and O Del Mio Dolce Ardor from Gluck's opera Paride ed Elena. The piece I sang for the final round was new to me and it's absolutely gorgeous — it's a piece by Ricky Ian Gordon titled Will There Really Be A Morning. Overall it was an incredible experience from start to finish, and I am honored and excited to be able to represent Centenary at nationals for NATS this upcoming summer."

Nearly 400 singers competed in the NATS Southern Region conference, which is made up of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Other events at the conference included a recital and master class by singer/actor Kyle Dean Massey, star of Broadway's Pippin, Next to Normal, Wicked, and Xanadu; and presentations by Brian Horne - Tenor and Associate Professor of Voice, Indiana University; and Amanda Jane Johnston - Associate Professor of Music, University of Mississippi.