04/14/2019 | News release | Archived content
By Merritt Jenkins
Lee University School of Music recently sent 21 students to the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) mid-south vocal competition at the University of Northern Kentucky.
Lee voice faculty Dr. Lenena Brezna, Tony Deaton, Dr. Andrea Dismukes, Dayne Frost, and Cynthia Johnson also attended and served as judges. The professors are current NATS members and the ones who select and prepare their individual students for the audition and competition.
'My colleagues and I are committed to this invaluable experience for our students each year,' said Dismukes, NATS trip organizer. 'Our goal is to move them closer to their full potential and to open their eyes to the greater meaning behind studying voice at Lee.'
The event included 354 voice students from Tennessee and Kentucky colleges and universities. Three Lee faculty pianists, Dr. ChoEun Lee, Mary Beth Wickes, and Amy Wu, also went to perform with the Lee students at three levels of competition and in nine categories.
Twelve Lee students advanced to the semi-finals, and six went on to place in the finals. According to Dismukes, the finals concert was four and a half hours long, ranging from high school to doctoral level students singing everything from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Verdi.
John Mburu, winner of last year's NATS competition, won first place in the Senior Men's category. Libby Clark won second place in the Junior Women's category, and Gabbi Flannery won third place in the Upper College Music Theater Women's category.
Thalia St. Hubert placed in the Top 5 finalist Freshman Women category, Riley Hooper placed in the Top 5 finalist Freshman Men, and Christian Edwards placed in the Top 5 finalist for Sophomore Men category.
'I believe our students were challenged, but also inspired by the performances they experienced,' said Dismukes. 'We are so grateful that our students had the opportunity to participate in this artistic, educational, and life-altering event.'
NATS is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world, with more than 7,000 members in the United States, Canada, and nearly 30 other countries. Its mission is to encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and ethical principles in the teaching of singing and to promote vocal education and research at all levels.
For more information, visit NATS.
For more information about Lee University's School of Music, visit SOM.