GCU Takes on the National Association of Teachers of Singing Conference

Dr. Rachel Velarde
Professor, College of Fine Arts and Production

Students got to experience the national conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) that hosted over 1,000 people on June 21 through the 26, Professor Dr. Rachel Velarde, Associate Professor of Music, took six students to Las Vegas, NV.

In exchange for conference registration, each student volunteered fifteen hours of work for the conference. All who met the Grand Canyon University students commented on how amazing they were and how willing they were to do anything asked of them.

Students were able to meet with other SNATS chapters, attend concerts and master classes. On top of that they got to meet opera stars Christine Brewer and Stephanie Blythe. After attending his concert, they even got to talk to Alton Fitzgerald White who played Mufasa in “The Lion King” on Broadway for eight years.

Students also attended sessions and had the opportunity to meet Jaime Bernstein (daughter of famous composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein) and Dr. Johan Sundberg- the Plenary session speaker and researcher of the acoustics of music and the science of the singing voice. Dr. Ian Howell, the the Director of Voice Pedagogy at the New England Conservatory was also there along with author Dr. Scott McCoy and “America’s Got Talent” singer Mandy Harvey.

On top of attending the conference sessions, Dr. Velarde judged the High School Music Theater finals of the NATS National Student Auditions competition and performed on the Graphite Publishing “Publisher’s Showcase,” publisher of contemporary art song and choral compositions.

The sessions, masterclasses, concerts and influential professionals at the conference will be in these six students’ minds forever. This experience was no doubt valuable to the students and will impact their education and future endeavors.

If you want to learn more about Grand Canyon University’s arts program within the College of Fine Arts and Production, check out our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.

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