University vocal students advance to semifinals in national competition

Two Southern Utah University vocal students advance to the semifinals of the National Student Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Two Southern Utah University vocal students have advanced to the semifinals of the National Student Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Under the direction of professor Carol Ann Modesitt and accompanied by Tracey Bradshaw, Ashley Stackhouse, a choral music education major, and Claire Robinson, a vocal performance major, have shown talent and professionalism.

“This is an incredible feat,” said Lawrence Johnson, chairman of the music department at SUU. “They had to advance through a NATS local chapter round, a Cal-Western Regional round, and finally a national YouTube round in order to be in the top 14 singers in their categories, competing against hundreds of singers throughout the United States, truly making them the ‘best of the best’ of the nation’s college singers.

“We are extremely proud and excited for our singers who are able to compete at such a high level and represent the teaching and artistic excellence at SUU.”

Robinson said she’s been working on the music she sings now for almost nine months, but she still finds aspects of performance that need improvement.

There’s always something that can be improved even if you’re singing all the right notes,” she said.

The most important training for Stackhouse was consistently practicing and maintaining a positive attitude.

“It’s so easy to say ‘I’ll practice tomorrow’ and give yourself the day off, but I knew I needed to spend quality time practicing every day if I wanted to be successful,” Stackhouse said.

The National Association of Teachers of Singing is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world. Its mission statement articulates that it 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.”

Stackhouse and Robinson will compete in the semifinals at the NATS National Convention in Las Vegas at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas June 22. The top three singers in each category will advance to the national finals at the Tropicana in Las Vegas June 24.

For more information about the department of music at SUU, click here.

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