NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A Bethel College vocalist placed third at the annual regional meeting of teachers of singing at the high school, undergraduate and graduate level.
The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) is divided into regional groupings that meet yearly in different locations. Soyoun Lim Chun, assistant professor of voice at Bethel College, took three of her students, Caitlin Linscheid, senior from North Newton, and sophomores Elizabeth Friesen, Littleton, Colo., and Joshua Powell, Basehor, to the NATS West Central Region Conference, held this year at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Nov. 1-3. The West Central Region covers Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming, in addition to Kansas.
Part of the agenda at each NATS conference is student auditions. Students are placed in different divisions according to their grade level and compete in various musical categories. Powell placed third in “music theater.”
“It’s very competitive,” said Chun, noting that the schools represented range from those with small departments like Bethel’s that bring only a few students to conferences to those such as the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska with masters-level programs in music that bring dozens of students. Powell sang several times in order to advance to the finals.
NATS was founded in 1944 and is the largest association of teachers of singing in the world. NATS has more than 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and more than 25 other countries. The NATS mission 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.”
NATS offers a variety of learning experiences to its members, such as workshops, intern programs, master classes and conferences, beginning at the chapter level and progressing to national events. Students of NATS members have access to one of the organization’s most widely recognized activities, the student auditions, as well as the opportunity, along with members, to compete at the national level through the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.