Newsletter Fall 2014

NOTE: National Office of NATS has instituted a change in the collection of dues. Chapter dues will now be collected when national dues are paid. Chapters are now aligned with the February 1 deadline, so the Greater Houston Chapter will not collect dues on October 15; the dues will be collected when you renew your national membership.

A Letter President


Dear Members of the Greater Houston Chapter of NATS,

It is a pleasure to serve as President of the Chapter.

As you can tell from the Officers’ Reports in the Newsletter, planning is well under way for our annual events.  In addition, the Texoma Regional Conference is being held November 5 – 8 at Lone Star College – Kingwood, and it is exciting to have this event so close to us.  Please make plans to attend; additional information can be found at Texoma Region Conference.

The National Office of NATS has instituted a change in the collection of dues. Chapter dues will now be collected when national dues are paid. The National office has cited excellent reasons for this, including convenience for the members, consistency in payment deadlines, and increased membership at the local level.  Chapters are now aligned with the February 1 deadline, so the Greater Houston Chapter will not collect dues on October 15; the dues will be collected when you renew your national membership.

Debra Greschner

I attended the National Conference in Boston in July, and it was an energizing and inspiring event.  I encourage you to consider attending the next national conference or a regional workshop.

The Chapter is fortunate to have a talented and enthusiastic Executive Board, and I am looking forward to working with them.  Please contact me if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

Debra Greschner

From the Chapter Past President


It has been my privilege to serve as President of GHNATS for the past four years, and I look forward to assisting in any way possible as the Past President. As we move forward with a terrific Board in place, I anticipate the wonderful leadership Debra Greschner will provide our chapter.

Thank you to all our members who are incredibly committed to both your students and GHNATS. I’m honored to serve in this capacity and I wish each of you the very best for your studios this year.

Take care,

Jason Lester

From the Secretary


It It is a privilege to be serving as the Greater Houston NATS Secretary! Welcome to another fabulous year of great singing and great literature both old and new!

As Secretary, I am responsible for communication and membership renewals. Communication is of primary importance, so if you have questions or need to communicate to our membership, please start with me, at As email is the best way to contact me, please indicate your preferred email address on your dues renewal form.

New membership and membership renewal are vital I keeping our chapter resilient and thriving. Please be sure to renew your chapter membership for this year and invite your fellow teachers to join us. We will be shifting all dues payment to sync with the National dues this year. Our new deadline will be in January starting in 2014. As always, you must be a member at the national level as well as the local chapter to enter students in the auditions, so start saving up! We have a little extra time now, but the total fee will include both local and national dues in January…after Christmas.

Best wished for a productive year, and I look forward to seeing all of you at our first official event in October!

Frankie Hickman

Frankie Hickman

From the Treasurer


Greetings GHNATS friends!

It’s an honor for me to serve as chapter treasurer after finishing a second term as Classical Auditions Chair, a position which allowed me to get to know many of you.  We are fortunate to have such quality members in our chapter, and I’m excited about what this next year holds.

As Debra mentioned in her letter, beginning this year, chapter dues will be made payable to the National Office in conjunction with national dues.  For those who paid early on our website before the option was disabled, we will need to process a refund to you (through PayPal, if possible).  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

I look forward to seeing everyone at our chapter events this upcoming year!

Angela Pickering

Angela Pickering

From the Vice-Presidents of Classical and Musical Theatre Auditions


Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 28, 2015 for the spring auditions! This year we plan to once again combine Musical Theater and Classical. We were able to secure the venue at the University of Houston, Moore School of Music. Online registration has been refined to create a more streamlined, user-friendly process. We will also look at the Texoma registration process for possible ways to make the registration process even smoother. Be on the lookout for informative emails and detailed instructions on the website as we draw nearer to the registration period, beginning in mid-January with a deadline of March 1.

Last year we made some changes: In an effort to streamline the day for all of us, we held our chapter meeting at 8:00 a.m. simultaneously with the judges’ meeting rather than at noon. In this way we kept the auditions going steadily until all the singing was completed, allowing judges to have a short lunch break before returning to their judging assignments.

Judy Boyter

We will again post results for the finals in each category on the doors of Dudley Hall and outside the Judge’s Meeting Room (Room 131).

Our Vice-President of Workshops, Serdar Ilban, will decide upon a workshop or lecture in Dudley Hall before finals begin.

It is our goal to make the day run smoothly, and there is one important thing that you can do. Contact your accompanists now and engage them for the day. Our preliminary thinking is that teachers will not be able to use the same accompanist for classical and musical theater. In the classical auditions we again must have separate accompanists for high school/adult and college/graduate. There is still a great deal of planning ahead of us; however, it would be wise to engage those pianists now.

We are both looking forward to an exciting and very productive Spring Auditions in 2015.

Judy and Katharine!

Report from the Vice-President of Workshops


I am Serdar Ilban, baritone and vocal area coordinator at Lamar University. I have been an active member of NATS since 2003, and joined GHNATS in 2011. In 2010, I was selected as one of the recipients of NATS Emerging Leaders Award.

I am honored to serve as Vice-President of Workshops for the Greater Houston Chapter of NATS.

At the Classical Auditions in April, the Chapter presented a lecture by Dr. Carol Kimball. Kimball, the author of the bestselling Song: A Guide to Art Song Style and Literature and Art Song: Linking Poetry and Music, lectured on integral relationship between lyric poetry and its musical settings, poetry basics for singers, exercises for singers in working with poetry and insights into composers musical settings of poetry.

We are in the process of planning workshops and clinics for the coming year, some of which will coincide with the Music Theatre and Classical auditions. Information about workshops will be forthcoming. Please contact me if you have suggestions for clinicians or topics.

Serdar Ilbanac

Best wishes for a productive year, and I look forward to seeing all of you at our first official event in October!

Thank you,

Serdar N. Ilban, D.M.A.
Vice-President of Workshops

Report from the Vice-President of College Vocal Music Fair



 am in my first full year as a GHNATS member and happy to serve as our Vice President of College Vocal Music Fair.

Preparations are underway for our annual College Vocal Music Fair at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston (5501 Main Street) on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is a new venue and we eagerly anticipate collegiate representatives from schools in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma to participate.  The event provides a forum for serious high school vocal musicians and their families to talk with collegiate personnel and/or vocal professors to learn more about the vocal music programs they offer.  I also anticipate having a few vocal music vendors who will have music for teachers and students to purchase at the event.

Prior to the College Vocal Music Fair, the Greater Houston NATS Winner’s Recital will take place.  This recital is comprised of winners from the Classical and Musical Theatre auditions that took place March 2014.  Following the recital there will be a question and answer session with college representatives and an opportunity for students and parents to meet them and receive materials about each school’s vocal music program. The event is free to all high school choral directors, vocal teachers, parents and students.

Robin Smith

Please help spread the word about this valuable event for aspiring vocal musicians and pass this information along to your students and parents.  A flyer with a detailed schedule appears on our GHNATS website and the flyer will also be sent to regional high school choral directors by the end of August.

I hope to see you at the College Vocal Music Fair on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston.

Thank you,

Robin Smith
Vice President of College Vocal Music Fair

From the Membership Liaison


I am excited to be the new membership liaison for our wonderful chapter!  Having built my teaching studio over the past 8 years, I understand the challenges facing prospective and newer members of our chapter.  I joined GHNATS because I wanted to provide my students with the opportunity to participate in the annual auditions, but I did not realize all the ways I would benefit from the chapter membership.  Our website’s Find A Teacher link, College Vocal Music Fair, Winner’s Recital, and the great network of support from NATS members are priceless benefits of membership.  I look forward to welcoming and supporting our newest members.  I can’t wait to share with them all the resources that GHNATS has to offer!

Kisa Parker, Membership Liaison

Kisa Parker