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Vocalists place at virtual Texoma National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition

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Students and faculty at Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s School of Music are making the best out of obstacles given during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

About 23 vocalists competed in the Texoma National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition in November. Since the competition was held virtually this year, more students than usual were entered. Dr. Melinda Brou, professor of Voice and Opera, said this was the largest number of singers the department has entered in the competition.

 

Students who competed are from the voice studios of Dr. Brou, Dr. Kenneth Williams, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, and Nancy Munn, Adjunct Instructor of Voice.

 

Overall, there were 634 singers from Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma who competed. Students had to submit a minimum of three videos in a category and up to five in the advanced categories, which covered different languages and styles including art song, oratorio and opera.

 

“Being able to bring more students due to the affordability of the competition has been such a boost for our program. We were able to offer the opportunity to four times as many students as we have ever taken, and the students absolutely took advantage of the investment made in them,” Brou said. “They worked incredibly hard to learn about best practices for recording themselves and studying their music. Hopefully, this will lead to us finding ways to bring more students to the competition again when it resumes in person, because the benefits for their musical growth, networking, and resume building is so important.”

 

Finalists in the competition include Karen Colchado Davila with first place in Fourth/Fifth Year Upper College and Graduate Age American Negro Spirituals; Danielle Rodriguez with fourth place in First Through Third Year College Age American Negro Spirituals American Negro Spiritual; and Karla Clemens, fifth place, First Through Third Year College Age American Negro Spirituals American Negro Spirituals.

 

Semi-Finalists in classical voice categories include Karla Clemens, Karen Colchado Davila, Sabrina Del Angel, Ashlei Fletcher Destynn Hatcher, Hannah Howard, Jeana Rodriguez and Samantha Williams.

 

“Having the students be able to compete when 95% of all other performance opportunities have been cancelled has been such a lift to everyone’s morale,” Brou said. “This was something that even though the circumstances were unusual, still felt normal. The students were back to getting ready for an event and preparing with goals to reach. I’m incredibly proud of each and every one of them.”

 

The three finalists will now submit for the National YouTube round with the submissions being due in early April and the winners from that round will be announced in late May, Brou said. If the singers are selected as one of the top 14 in their categories, they will move forward as National Semi-Finalists to the national conference this summer.

 

Category: General Univ , Arts/Sciences

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