NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Eight Bethel voice students sang in 11 events at the annual regional competition for the National Teachers of Singing (NATS).
NATS is divided into regional groupings that meet yearly in different locations. The West Central Regional Conference and Student Auditions were held this year at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. The West Central Region covers Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming, in addition to Kansas.
The Bethel singers, students of Soyoun Chun, assistant professor of music and instructor of voice, competed in a series of divisions in both classical and musical theater.
“Our students did amazing work,” Chun said. “We had six semi-finalists out of 11 entries, and three students went to the final round.”
Kelly Reed, junior from Edinburg, Texas, took third in Classical Junior Women. Kelsey Easterday, senior from Manhattan, was fifth in Classical Senior Women. Julia Miller, freshman from Hesston, tied for fifth in Freshman Women.
“I would like to recognize all our students who showed great musicianship and really competed well with strong music major students coming from big universities,” Chun added. Other students competing were Joshua Powell, junior from Basehor, Sierra Pryce, junior from North Newton, Monica Schmidt, junior from Mount Hope, and Renee Reimer, freshman from Sioux Falls, S.D.
“We also want to give special thanks to [Professor of Music] Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, who gave many extra hours to our students and supported them with excellent accompanying,” Chun said.
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. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.