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Sarah Unruh ’12

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Bethel singers make strong showing in regional competition

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – After several years of competing in a regional competition for voice students at the college and university level, Bethel College senior Joshua Powell achieved first place in his final attempt.

Powell, a tenor vocalist from Basehor, was one of nine Bethel voice students who sang at the annual regional competition for the National Association of 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 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Nov. 6-7. 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 several divisions in both classical and musical theater.

Powell sang in the Music Theater (Upperclass) and Senior Men’s Classical divisions. He took first place in the latter.

Julia Miller, sophomore from Hesston, and Cameron Voth, junior from Goessel, advanced to the semi-finals in their respective divisions in music Theater and classical, while Nathan Snyder, junior from Hesston, was a semi-finalist in classical.

Other students competing were Kelsey Easterday, senior from Manhattan, William Lewis, freshman from Newton, Renee Reimer, sophomore from Sioux Falls, S.D., Monica Schmidt, senior from Mount Hope, and Allison Yoder, sophomore from Kalona, Iowa.

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 the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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