Sixteen A&M-Commerce vocal division students competed in the Regional Competition of the National Association of Teachers of Singing held November 10 at Baylor University. Nine students advanced to the semi-finals including Jonathan Walker who placed first in the Undergraduate Freshman Men’s Category and Jose Olivares who placed second in the Undergraduate Senior Men’s Category.
The other student semi-finalists were Jennifer Lambert, Malik Heard, Noah Reese, Christian Knight, Warren Mahler, Sarah Harvey and Connor McCowen.
“We are very proud of the work of all of these students and their teachers,” said Dr. Randall Hooper, director of choirs and vocal activities.
Olivares, a junior music education major, said that his experience in the competition was one of the most surreal experiences of his undergraduate career. “Becoming a finalist not only brought me great joy but gave me a strong appreciation for the support of the music department and the university,” he said.
Over 600 students from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico attend and compete in this regional competition. Each student must prepare three vocal pieces for the competition and are judged by professional judges. The highly competitive competition includes a preliminary round, semi-finals and finals.
“The hard work that goes on in the vocal department was reflected at NATS,” said Brock Johnson, assistant professor of voice. “The caliber of students that we have participating in competitions truly shows the direction this department is headed.”
Founded in 1944, NATS is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with nearly 7,000 members in the United States, Canada, and nearly 30 other countries.