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Freshman takes two firsts in regional singing competition

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – She’s just a freshman, but Bethel College student Mycah Westhoff has already made a splash in the music department.

Westhoff, a soprano vocalist from Newton, competed for the first time in the college/university section of the annual regional competition for the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Westhoff was one of 11 Bethel students who went to NATS, one of six who made it to the semi-final round of competition – and then she finished first in both her divisions, Freshman Women’s Classical and Music Theater (Underclass).

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 Fort Hays State University, Nov. 5-6. 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 their class-year divisions in both classical and musical theater.

For the second year in a row, Julia Miller, junior from Hesston, advanced to semi-finals in both music theater and classical competition. Sarah Pohl, senior from Moundridge, Nathan Snyder, senior from Hesston, Cameron Voth, senior from Goessel, and Allison Yoder, junior from Kalona, Iowa, were all semi-finalists in music theater.

Other Bethel students competing were Jordan Claassen, freshman from Hesston, Riley King, freshman from Lawrence, Caroline Mayhew, sophomore from Lawrence, Renee Reimer, junior from Sioux Falls, S.D., and Aaron Tschetter, sophomore from Freeman, S.D.

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 2011-12 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2011-12. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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