November 17, 2011
Lees-McRae Vocal Students Advance to Regional NATS Auditions

Nine vocal students from the Performing Arts Department at Lees-McRae College participated in the North Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NCNATS) Student Auditions held on the campus of Western Carolina University Saturday, November 12. Six students received scores high enough to attend the Regional Auditions in April. The following students passed the auditions:

  • Freshman: Kaitlyn Buchanan - Bakersville, NC
  • Sophomores: Chloe Boggs - Bear, DE; Holly Knowles (3rd place) - Fort Mills, SC; and Randi Sowards - Concord, NC
  • Juniors: Sarah Rutzen - Shelby, NC
  • Senior: Jarrett Koski - Clearwater, FL

Sophomores Cassandra Schultz from Weldon, NC and Brianna Witherspoon from Greensboro, NC, along with Senior Makenzie Simpson from Hickory, NC also participated in the NATS Audition. All three vocalists had an outstanding performance but did not have enough qualifying points to participate in the Regional Auditions.

The NATS Student Auditions are an opportunity for students to perform for professional teachers of singing from all over the state of North Carolina which gives both the students and their teachers valuable feedback about their singing and vocal technique. There are three adjudicators for each category which ranges from high school freshman to college seniors. Adjudicators are members of NATS and professional voice teachers from North Carolina colleges and universities. There are two separate events during the year; one for Musical Theatre and the other for Classical Literature.

The audition results are based on scores ranging from zero to 30 with 30 being the highest score. While there are first, second and third place winners in each category, students need to receive an average score of 25 or more to move on to the Regional Audition. Students had to prepare selections from various musical periods and styles and had 10 minutes to present.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Auditions will be held on April 13-14 at the University of Maryland. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter includes: Maryland/Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Lees-McRae College vocal students will compete against winners from these chapters in April. The NATS Regional Audition is the final audition of the year and there will be a first, second, and third place winner in each of the categories.

Mr. Jim Taylor, Assistant Professor of Music said, "I am very proud of the work these students have achieved. These are all private voice students, and I think this reflects well on our decision to add the BFA in Musical Theatre to our program. The last time we participated in this event was two years ago where we only had one singer out of five pass to the regional level. This year we are six out of nine, which is quite an improvement over previous years. We couldn't have done it without our amazing accompanist Paul Adamson. He worked tirelessly with nine singers who each had four songs to prepare - 36 songs in all! Special thanks to Ethan Henry who went along as Mr. Adamson's page turner. We look forward to attending the Regional Auditions and appreciate the support of the College and the Performing Arts Program."

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