Newsletter Fall 2010

A Letter from the President


Dear NATS Colleagues,

As we begin the 2010-2011 academic year, I hope this newsletter finds you well and rested for an exciting year. This past year has been quite eventful for our chapter, with the “Mozart and Mélodie” workshop with Carol Kimball and Arlene Shrut, a collaboration with Houston Masterworks Chorus and their Emerging Artist Competition, and of course the annual Winners’ Recital and Classical/Musical Theater auditions. We continued the practice of having guest clinicians present a workshop at our auditions this past year, with Buck Ross and Larry Smiglewski bringing energy and providing informative sessions for us all. It is the Board’s desire to provide opportunities for growth and development for both members and students, and we hope you have felt served in that manner this past year.

Jason Lester

There are several events I want you to be aware of for the upcoming year:

  • We have reinstated the College Vocal Music Fair, which will take place on October 16, 2010. I sincerely hope that you will promote this to your students. This is a tremendous service for both high school and college students in our chapter. Many of the universities represented at the CVMF have graduate programs, providing an excellent opportunity for our college students to talk with voice faculty at prospective schools. And of course, this is a wonderful opportunity for our high school students and their parents to acquaint themselves with regional colleges and universities. Kerry Jennings and Paul Busselberg, our Vice-Presidents of the CVMF, will elaborate on this in their newsletter article.
  • October 16 will be a busy day. In addition to the CVMF, we will also hold the Winners’ Recital, a workshop, and a business meeting that day. There are many events and circumstances that compete for our time, and the board hopes that by consolidating these events into one day, we will help streamline your calendar and commitments. We hope you can attend this important Fall event!
  • Debbie Siebert is coordinating the Winner’s Recital. Please be on the lookout for communication from her if you had a student place first in the spring auditions. If you are the teacher of a first place winner, please begin preparing your student(s) to sing at the Winner’s Recital. A small reception will follow the Recital for the students, their families, and others present.
  • The Texoma NATS Regional Conference will take place in Abilene, at Hardin-Simmons University November 4-6, 2010. I hope to see you there. This is such a wonderful event for our Region. If you have never attended, or it has been several years since you last participated, I encourage you to make every effort to go this year. Registration deadline is Oct. 10, 2010.
  • Our Classical Auditions will take place at UH on April 09, 2011. Angela Pickering, our Vice-President of Classical Auditions will provide more information in her newsletter article.
  • We were recently informed that Deanna Peden, whom the membership approved as Vice-President of Musical Theater Auditions, has resigned due to relocation. We will miss her, but wish her the best in her new endeavors. Because of this, we have yet to confirm a date and location for the Musical Theater Auditions but are working on that now. Please check the GHNATS website ( in the coming months for this information.



Jason Lester


Angela Pickering




Charles Stanton


Dr. Kerry Jennings

Dr. Paul Busselberg


Debra Greschner


Melissa Givens


Jody Haas


Marion Russell-Dickson
Email 1Email 2

Thank you for supporting these events!

Additional information:

  • The GHNATS website exists to serve our chapter. If you have upcoming events, productions, or auditions that you would like to post on the Bulletin Board link, please email these submissions to our Secretary, Debra Greschner, and we will get them posted.
  • SNATS Chapters are popping up all over the country and within our Chapter. These are Student NATS chapters, sponsored by “a Full or Associate NATS member in good standing.” If this is something that interests you, please check the following link: SNATS.
  • Recruit for GHNATS! Please invite your colleagues to join our Chapter. Each member provides knowledge, experience, and perspective that are vital for our Chapter to continue to thrive. Please email our Membership Liaison, Jody Haas, with names of colleagues whom you would like to see invited to join!!
  • I would like to recognize some wonderful honors given to some of our members. Frankie Hickman received the Independent Teacher Fellowship for the Texoma Region to attend the National NATS Convention in Salt Lake City this summer! Way to go Frankie! Both Charles Stanton and I participated in the NATS Intern Program this summer in Florida. It was a tremendous experience and would recommend it to anyone eligible.
  • Last but not least, I would like to publically thank all of the Board Members. Each of you has tremendous gifts and talents and this chapter couldn’t function without your commitment and energy. I hope you know that you are appreciated. Thank you! A special acknowledgment is in order for Marion Russell Dickson, our past-president. She executed her responsibilities with grace and efficiency and I am so grateful for her guidance and kindness.
  • I hope you enjoy reading the following articles submitted from our Officers. They will address the specific details concerning their office, including deadlines and other pertinent information.
  • It is my honor to serve as President of this great chapter and I look forward to working with each of you this year. My desire is that we will continue to work closely on the business of our chapter, as well as celebrate and encourage the growth of artistry within each member and student.

Take care,

Jason Lester

From the Vice-President of Classical Auditions


As quickly as the summer seemed to pass, the spring classical auditions will be upon us before you know it! Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, April 9, 2011, the date for the Houston NATS Classical Auditions, which will once again take place at the Moore’s School of Music at the University of Houston. Online registration forms will be available in late January or early February, with a registration deadline of March 5. Look for announcements regarding registration on our website as well as in your email. If your contact info has changed, please update your email address on the membership form.

Our Classical Auditions this past spring went very smoothly, even with the more exacting requirements regarding adherence to the copyright laws, which require accompanists to play from original publications. Planning ahead makes following the guidelines easier for everyone. As a reminder, the guidelines posted by the National Auditions Committee are:

Angela Pickering

The National Association of Teachers of Singing endorses a strict policy regarding copyright laws. The use of photocopied music is prohibited at all NATS sponsored events, from the national to the chapter level. Exceptions are:

  • Music that is out of print, still under copyright law, with permission from a publisher.
  • Sheet music or books for which the copyright has expired, but available in CD format. (e.g., CD Sheet Music)

I look forward to taking on this responsibility of classical auditions chair, as daunting as it may seem. Kudos to Elisa Thompson, who did a tremendous job over the past four years, especially with the transition to handling registration and scheduling electronically. Thankfully, she left everything well-organized and with detailed instructions. Realizing that I have big shoes to fill, I appreciate your support as I “learn the ropes” this year.


Angela Pickering

Regarding the 2010 College Vocal Music Fair


The College Vocal Music Fair is back by popular demand and right around the corner, so mark your calendars now. On October 16th, 2010 at San Jacinto College, high school voice students and their families in our area will have the opportunity to meet and talk with music department recruiters from colleges and universities throughout the Texoma Region. This date does not conflict with area TMEA auditions, so please make sure you connect with your local high school choral and voice teachers and encourage them to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. This event will be in conjunction with our Spring 2010 Classical and Musical Theater Student Auditions Winner’s Recital and Fall Workshop and should prove to be an outstanding day. But it cannot be successful without your promotion and participation. So, get the word out and join us for this important event. More details regarding start times for each segment of this day will be in your inbox soon, so please check your email regularly and help your students find the information they need for a successful college career and help your schools find the students they deserve.


Kerry Jennings

Dr. Kerry Jennings

From the Vice-President for Workshops


It is with great pleasure that I serve as Vice-President for Worshops again this year. Though I came into this position late in the summer of 2009, I am very pleased with the offerings to our membership last year. My close friend and colleague from Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, Arlene Shrut, was a presenter along with the esteemed Carol Kimball in our “Mozart and Mélodie” Masterclass. We were also most fortunate to host presentations by Buck Ross, Director of Opera at the University of Houston, and Larry Smiglewski, Assistant Professor of Theater at Sam Houston State. We are fortunate to offer wonderful opportunities to our students.

This year will be equally exciting and I am thrilled to see the plans coming together for 2010-2011. All presenters are subject to board approval but the options currently being explored include:

  • Professional Development Workshop with Cindy Sadler, from Classical Singer Magazine
  • Alexander Technique and Freedom of Movement Sessions for Singers and Teachers
  • Meet the Artists & Masterclass Sessions with Artists from the HGO
  • Meet the Composer (specialized masterclass on the music of one composer who will coach singers)
  • A Voice Teacher’s “How-To-Guide: (A Lecture/Discussion Series for Teachers & Students) Terrific Tenors, Brilliant Baritones, Magnificent Mezzos, Superb Sopranos.
Charles Stanton

More information will be sent to you as soon as the board and I have approved activities for the year. If you have suggestions for workshops, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear your ideas! Warmest regards and best wishes to you and your students!


Charles Stanton

From the Chapter Secretary


I am pleased to serve as the Secretary for the Greater Houston Chapter of NATS. As secretary, I am responsible for membership renewals, as well as other communications to the Chapter membership. The primary responsibility of the Secretary is communication, so please contact me regarding upcoming events, or anything else that you would like to share with the membership. Email is the preferred method of communication, both for immediacy and cost efficiency. Please indicate your preferred email address on your dues renewal form.

Please be sure to renew your membership for this year. You can renew and pay your membership fee at our website at The deadline for Chapter dues is October 16, 2010, and there is a $10.00 late fee for dues paid after that date. Please note that all GHNATS members must pay national NATS dues before renewing your local membership.

Debra Greschner

When completing your renewal, please indicate a Chapter committee on which you would like to serve. As our Chapter’s events grow, we are in need of members who can help in the planning and execution of events. Thank you, in advance, for your participation!

Best wishes for a productive year, and I look forward to seeing all of you at the Winner’s Recital.

Debra Greschner

From the Membership Liaison


Hello GHNATS members!

I am very honored and excited to continue serving you in my position as Membership Liaison. I am available to hear your ideas, comments, and concerns and relate this information to the Board of Directors. I also serve as an advocate for recruitment of new members. If you know of people who might be interested in joining our chapter, please send me their names and email addresses and I will be happy to send them a letter of invitation. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I hope we will all be active in recruiting new members, as we have a lot to offer teachers of singing…workshops, student auditions, a database for advertisement and just general camaraderie! Ours is one of the largest local chapters in the nation and I am sure we are all proud of that.

Please do not hesitate to let me know how I can serve you effectively.


Jody Haas

Jody Haas

From the Treasurer


Dear Colleagues,

I am so honored to be your Treasurer this year. I hope this finds you all well and experiencing a fabulous new school year.

As your Treasurer, I am charged with keeping accurate account of chapter finances, recording dues payments, notifying those of you that have not paid your dues, and paying all approved bills of the chapter. As is customary, I will also present financial report to you all at scheduled chapter Business Meetings.

Please remember that while I keep track of payments, membership dues and forms are completed exclusively online. The information on the online forms will be emailed by our web service directly to Debra Greschner, our chapter Secretary, and Jody Haas, our Membership Liaison. The PayPal information will be emailed to me directly.

Melissa Givens

As a final reminder, you need to pay your Local dues, as well as remain current in National dues, in order to enter students in chapter auditions in the spring. With that said, we appreciate your paying your dues on or before the Fall business meeting so that we have ample funds for hosting the variety of events our chapter provides.

I am thrilled to serve in this capacity for the GHNATS and I thank you all for your continued participation in our chapter. Remember to pay your dues by the business meeting on October 16!


Melissa Givens

From the Winners' Recital Chair


Dear Colleagues,

The Greater Houston NATS Annual Winners’ Recital has been scheduled for Saturday, October 16 following the College Vocal Music Fair at San Jacinto College Central. The recital will be in Jan Corbin Recital Hall at approximately 3:00pm. This recital features students who won first place in both Classical and Musical Theater Auditions this past spring. An email has already been sent to private teachers of the winners which requests programming information for each student. That info is due Saturday Oct. 02. We look forward to seeing the chapter’s talented students at the recital.

Best Wishes~

Debbie Siebert

From the Chapter Past-President


Dear Greater Houston Chapter of NATS Members,

Hello!! I hope that this Newsletter finds you all healthy and happy during this time of new, or renewed, musical and academic endeavors!! The beginning of each school year is always so exciting – with new students, returning students, new repertoire to discover and new professional relationships to foster, as well as caring for our colleagues who have been, and continue to be, close to our hearts for quite some time…Welcome, Fall 2010!!

This year I am writing each of you as your Past-President, and I am honored to have graduated, so to speak, to this current position. Serving you as President was extremely rewarding and humbling, and I am forever thankful for having had the chance to serve our chapter in this way. Working with so many of our Chapter Members has been a fabulous experience – I do hope that each of us, as GH NATS Members, has the opportunity to get to know as many members as possible. We truly have a unique group of leaders, educators and performers, and it was honestly quite fun to work with such talented individuals. Thank you for all your efforts, input, energies and devotion to both students and colleagues for the past two (plus) years. All your hard work and passion for our art shines through to the national level… GH NATS needs to be proud of all that has been accomplished here in our Houston community and beyond.

Dear Greater Houston Chapter of NATS Members,

Congratulations to our new GH NATS Board for 2010 – 2012!! Each of our Board Members are artists of the highest degree. Dr. Jason Lester, our new President, is an exceptional colleague who will lead our chapter with clarity, vigor and the highest degree of professionalism. We have new officers that I am thrilled to have as part of the Board, as well as others who are returning to our Board that have proven true leadership and interpersonal skills. During the next two years Chapter Events offered will continue to set the bar high for our students, and for each other, as we do our best to refine, explore and energize our lives with the gift of song.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is any way I may assist. I wish you, your families, and students, a most fantastic year!!

Sincerely yours,

Marion Russell Dickson
Past-President, Greater Houston Chapter

Code of Ethics of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.

New Code of Ethics approved by the NATS Board of Directors in June, 2006, and accepted by the membership in December, 2006. This Code of Ethics is established by NATS in order that its members may understand more clearly their ethical duties and obligations to their students, other teachers, and the general public, as well as to promote cooperation and good fellowship among the members.

  1. Personal Ethical Standards
    1. Members will strive to teach with competence through study of voice pedagogy, musicianship, and performance skills.
    2. Members will present themselves honestly, in a dignified manner, and with documented qualifications: academic degrees, professional experience, or a combination of both.
    3. Members will faithfully support the Association and are encouraged to participate in its activities.
  2. Ethical Standards Relating to Students
    1. Members will respect the personal integrity and privacy of students unless the legal or academic system requires disclosure.
    2. Members will treat each student in a dignified and impartial manner.
    3. Members will clearly communicate all expectations of their studios including financial arrangements.
    4. Members will respect the student’s right to obtain instruction from the teacher of his/her choice.
    5. Members will offer their best voice and music instruction and career advice to all students under their instruction. They will complete the full number of lessons and amount of time paid for by each student in accordance with studio policies.
    6. Members will not make false or misleading statements regarding a student’s hopes for a career or guarantees of performances or favorable contracts.
  3. Ethical Standards Relating to Colleagues
    1. Members will refrain from making false claims regarding themselves or their students and from making false or malicious statements about colleagues or their students.
    2. Members will not, either by inducements, innuendoes, or other acts, proselytize students of other teachers.
    3. Members will render honest and impartial adjudication at NATS auditions and/or NATS competitions and students will not be requested to disclose names of present or former teachers until after the event.
    4. Members will disclose at NATS events the name of a student’s previous voice teacher if the student has studied with the current teacher for less than eight months.
    5. When a member’s expertise warrants collaboration, members will work collegially with other professionals (i.e., voice therapists, speech pathologists, and medical practitioners).
    6. Rules and regulations of any accredited academic institution take precedence over the NATS Code of Ethics, should there be a conflict.

Newsletter compiled and submitted by

Charles Stanton
GHNATS Newsletter Chair