Newsletter Fall 2015

A Letter President


Dear Members of the Greater Houston Chapter of NATS,

I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Fall Business Meeting and Winners Recital on Sunday, October 18 at Houston Baptist University. The Business Meeting begins at 3:00, and the Recital will follow at 4:00 p.m. I urge all members to attend because we will be clarifying the changes to the audition categories and repertoire requirement that was instituted by the National Office.

I also encourage you to make plans to attend the Texoma Regional Conference; it will be held at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, November 11-14, 2015. Information can be found at Texoma Region Conference.

Debra Greschner

As a reminder, 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.

The Chapter is fortunate to have a talented and enthusiastic Executive Board, and I am grateful for their hard work.

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 to serve a second year as chapter treasurer. As you are well aware, this past year marked a transition wherein chapter dues were no longer payable directly to GHNATS, but rather became payable to the National Office in conjunction with national dues. This change was a smooth process for the chapter, and even though there was a delay in funds between the original October due date and the updated payment deadline, the chapter managed to keep enough “cushion” in our accounts for those few months until the bulk of the dues were paid in January.

Also, because of the large turnout for last spring’s auditions, we were able to turn a profit from the event, allowing us once again to fund gift cards for the winners, as well as accompanists for the upcoming Winners’ Recital.

I hope that all of you are experiencing a successful start to the fall semester, and I look forward to seeing everyone at our chapter events this upcoming year!

Angela Pickering, Treasurer

Angela Pickering

From the Vice-Presidents of Classical and Musical Theatre Auditions


Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 9, 2016 for the GHNATS Spring Auditions. Again Musical Theatre and Classical Auditions will be combined on that day. The venue will be again at the University of Houston, Moore School of Music. Registration will again be through the website with more information and detailed instructions about that as we draw nearer to the registration period, beginning in mid-January with a deadline of March 1.

I encourage everyone to attend the general meeting on Sunday afternoon, October 18th at Houston Baptist University at 3:00pm. The Winner’s Recital will be at 4:00pm after the meeting. At this meeting we will discuss several changes that have been made to standardize auditions because all will now have the potential to feed into the national competitions. The complete guidelines, including video explanations and templates for judging forms, are available at NSA Resources.

Judy Boyter

The aspect that will have the biggest impact on the spring audition is the change in the length of time and number of pieces required for upper and advanced college categories, and an increase in the number of songs. This will directly affect the schedule for the day. This information, which is contained in the link given above, can be directly accessed at NSA Categories.

We will discuss these changes in auditions at our meeting, so please plan to attend on October 18 and stay for the Winner’s Recital.

Next April, we will again hold our chapter meeting at 8:00am simultaneously with the judges’ meeting. We will plan again to keep the auditions going steadily until all the singing is completed, allowing judges to have a short lunch break before returning to their judging assignments.

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).

It is our goal to make the day run smoothly, and there is one important thing that you can do. Contact your accompanists early 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 theatre. 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 2016.

Judy and Katharine



Report from the Vice-President of Workshops


Dear NATS colleagues and friends,

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 and Musical Theater Auditions in April, the Chapter presented a lively panel discussion featuring distinguished guests from both disciplines. Some of today’s notable performers, teachers, and other industry professionals took questions from students of the craft of singing, their family members and other performers and teachers. The discussion received lots of positive feedback from attendees, and it is sure to inspire future discussions.

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

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


Serdar Ilbanac

From the Membership Liaison


As I have built my teaching career over the last decade, I have taught privately in high schools, colleges, continuing education programs, and in my own private studio. These experiences allow me to understand the needs and challenges of prospective and newer members of our chapter. When I joined GHNATS, I primarily wanted to provide my students with the opportunity to participate in the annual auditions, but quickly realized there were many ways my students and myself would benefit from my 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