A Georgia Baptist Institution
April 2, 2012 - Shorter University voice students earned 25 awards this past weekend at the Southeastern Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).
Over the course of two days, Shorter University students won a grand total of 25 awards, including five first-place finishes. “We believe this is an all-time record, the most awards that Shorter voice students have won at any SER-NATS auditions in recent memory,” said vocal coordinator and Shorter professor Dr. Matthew Hoch. “The sheer number of Shorter University students who were on stage during the finalist rounds of the competition speaks volumes about the quality of Shorter University’s vocal music program, voice faculty, and students. We are very proud of Shorter’s perennial eminence in the Southeastern Region of NATS.”
A total of 61 awards were distributed in the 2012 SER-NATS undergraduate collegiate categories. Shorter’s 25 wins comprise 41 percent of the 2012 SER-NATS winners, more awards than any other school in the three-state area. This year, the competition was held at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., and included students from many of the major vocal music programs in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
“Shorter faculty and students have participated and won at state and regional NATS competitions for decades, but 2012 has been one of the most successful years ever with a record number of students placing and winning their categories,” said Dr. Alan Wingard, Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts.
MUSICAL THEATRE Winners (L to R): Maranda Rossi, Sarah Brackett, Kate Johnson, Chris Vizurraga, Sophie Decker, McKinley Starks, Kaitlin Kennedy, West Braselton, Amanda Church, Maggie Salley
CLASSICAL Winners (L to R): McKinley Starks, Judson Whitfield, Rebecca White, Joe Sokohl, Trey Smagur, Amanda Church, Cody Bowers, Joshua Bartolotti, Sarah Blake Hicks, Jonathan Parham, Anne Marie Kelly, Wesley Henson, Sophie Decker, Mary Diesch, Tareva Moore
First-place winners included Trey Smagur (senior classical men), Chris Vizurraga (senior musical theatre men), and Maggie Salley (freshman musical theatre women). Joshua Bartolotti and Cody Bowers also tied for first place in the junior classical men category.
Second-place winners included Sarah Brackett (senior musical theatre women), Tareva Moore (junior classical women), Amanda Church (sophomore classical women), Wesley Henson (sophomore classical men), Sophie Decker (sophomore musical theatre women), Kaitlin Kennedy (freshman musical theatre women), and McKinley Starks (freshman musical theatre men).
Third-place winners included Mary Diesch (senior classical women), Jonathan Parham (senior classical men), Amanda Church (sophomore musical theatre women), West Braselton (freshman musical theatre men).
In addition to these awards, nine Certificates of Merit were awarded to the following students: Sarah Blake Hicks (junior classical women), Anne Marie Kelly (junior classical women), Joseph Sokohl (junior classical men), Sophie Decker (sophomore classical women), Judson Whitfield (sophomore classical men), Kate Johnson (sophomore musical theatre women), Maranda Rossi (sophomore musical theatre women), Rebecca White (freshman classical women), and McKinley Starks (freshman classical men).
Smagur, Bartolotti, Bowers, Parham, Diesch, Sokohl, Moore, and Johnson are from the voice studio of Dr. Chuck Chandler; Vizurraga, Salley, Brackett, Rossi, Kennedy, Starks, and Braselton are from the studio of Dr. Matthew Hoch; Church, Decker, Whitfield, and White are from the studio of Dr. Rebecca Salter; Hicks and Kelly are from the studio of Dr. Deborah Popham; and Henson is from the studio of Dr. Sherri Weiler. All five of Shorter University’s full-time voice professors attended the event and served as judges. Coach-accompanist Ben Harris contributed significantly to the weekend’s success, as did staff accompanists Wanda Hillman, Daniel Ng, Thomas Williams, and Warren Kennedy.
The National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. (NATS) was founded in 1944 and is now the largest association of teachers of singing in the world. Today NATS boasts more than 6,500 members in the United States, Canada, and over 25 other countries around the world.
The purpose of the organization is to encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing; and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented.
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christian university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its lists of best value and best Southeastern colleges. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 48 major areas as well as undergraduate degree programs for working adults, the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Education and the Master of Arts in Leadership. General education and calculus courses are offered in an online format, and Shorter recently launched online programs that lead toward the Associate of Science, the Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Master of Accountancy degrees. For more information, visit www.shorter.edu.
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