Newsletter Fall 2018

From the President



What an honor and pleasure it is to serve as president of this outstanding chapter and with such incredible board members! I trust that you all have had a smooth start to the fall semester. The following are important dates to reserve on your calendars for the 2018-2019 academic year.

  • November 3, 2018 – Musical Theater Auditions (LoneStar College Montgomery)
  • November 7-10, 2018 – Texoma Regional Conference (Baylor University)
  • March 23, 2019 – Classical Auditions (Moores School of Music at the University of Houston)
  • May 5, 2019 – Winners’ Recital (tentatively at Houston Baptist University)

Our Fall Chapter Business Meeting will be held in conjunction with the Musical Theatre Auditions on Nov. 3 at LoneStar College Montgomery. Watch for emails regarding registration for the auditions around the latter part of September.

Angela Pickering

We highly encourage you to attend the Texoma Regional Conference which will be held Nov. 7-10 in Waco. Visit for registration information, and if you attend, be sure to check the schedule for the various artist series as our very own member and board treasurer, David Kirkwood, will be performing.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I look forward to a successful year.


Angela Pickering

From the Chapter Past President


Dear Greater Houston NATS Chapter Members,

I am pleased to serve as Past President for the Greater Houston Chapter, and to serve with the current slate of officers. Thank you for your support and I pray that you all have a great year!


Elisa Thompson

Elisa Thompson

From the Vice-President of Classical Auditions


Thank you for re-electing me as our chapter Vice-President for Classical auditions. Donna Hinds Sawyers and I make a great team, and we are happy in our complementary roles. Now serving our second terms, we were pleased with the process and efficiency of last year’s Musical Theatre and Classical auditions. We hope to continue that experience for the auditions this year.

The GHNATS Spring Classical Auditions will be on Saturday, March 23, 2019, hosted by The Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. Our judges’ meeting will begin promptly at 8:00am in room 131 of the MSM. We will hold our Spring Business Meeting immediately following at 8:30am. This will allow our members to attend the Guest Artist Lecture after lunch before Finals begin. Results for the Finals in each category will be posted in room 131, in areas near the main foyer, and via a QR code for easy access for students to view on their smart phones or tablets.

Michael Walsh

Registration for both Musical Theatre and Classical Auditions this year will again occur through Auditionware which is accessed through the website. The Board agreed to a slight raise in registration fees for teachers ($20) and students ($22) this year to offset the administrative fees we pay to National for using Auditionware. Please remember to review the information found on the NATS Student Auditions Resource page and make sure you also understand the complete set of guidelines for each category by clicking on the following link: NSA Categories.

I highly suggest you contact and secure your accompanists now to reserve these dates in their calendars (November 3, 2018 for Musical Theatre and March 23, 2019 for Classical). Since Musical Theatre and Classical Auditions will be held on separate dates, we hope that the pianists you collaborate with most can play for both contests. As always, NATS endorses a strict policy regarding copyright laws which can be easily found at

I wish everyone a smooth and successful year of teaching! If you have any questions, please email me at I look forward to a fantastic 2018-2019 season with you all!

Sincerely, Michael Walsh

From the Vice-President of Musical Theatre


Greetings Colleagues,

I am happy to serve this term as VP of Musical Theatre Auditions. I am very grateful to partner with Michael Walsh, VP of Classical Auditions, as he is on point with the technical issues, and keeps us on schedule and on time. We had a successful run last year, and I look forward this new season.

We have established a routine of having our Musical Theatre Auditions in the fall semester, and will continue that scheduling this year. Musical Theatre Auditions will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Lonestar College, Montgomery Campus. The campus and facilities are such a pleasure, and the location is a quick hop on the Hardy Toll, in The Woodlands. Mark your calendars!

Remember that we have a CCM, Contemporary Commercial Music category for singers aged 21 and up. This repertoire includes pop, rock, jazz, country and most anything you would hear on the radio. Lonestar has been kind enough to allow us to use their microphone/equipment, so that we are representing the styles as they were meant to be performed.

Let’s have a great year!


Donna Hinds Sawyers

Donna Hinds

Report from the Vice-President of Workshops


I am very excited to be serving Greater Houston NATS as the VP of Workshops! This is my third year in the Greater Houston area, having moved from Georgia. Previous to moving here, I served the Southeastern Region of NATS as the Repertoire Consultant. I am looking forward to being more involved in the GH NATS community and getting to know all of our members. I am also planning some great workshops for our auditions and perhaps some stand-alone events, so keep an eye out for what’s coming!

Deborah Popham

From the Treasurer


Dear NATS friends and colleagues,

I am David Kirkwood, tenor, and the vocal area coordinator at Houston Baptist University. I have been a member of NATS since 2012, but have been attending and bringing students to Texoma and GHNATS since 2014. In May, I completed my D.M.A in Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California, and this Fall I will be give a lecture recital in the Artist Series during the Texoma NATS conference. I live in Katy with my wife and our three daughters.

I am honored to serve as Treasurer this term. I love how our organization provides opportunities for growth, education, and competition for our students, and I’m very happy to be a part of the leadership team.

David Kirkwood

Membership Liaison Statement


As Membership Liaison, I would like to welcome you to Greater Houston NATS, whether you are a new or a long-standing member. GHNATS is a group of voice teachers and coaches who are passionate about our students, teaching, and furthering the vocal arts.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. Also, if you know of potential new members, please let me know and GHNATS will reach out.

Kind regards,

Frances Fenton
Voice Faculty, Houston Community College

P.S. We are interested in your accomplishments, as well as those of your students. Let us know if you have exciting news!

Frances Fenton

From the Secretary


It is my esteemed pleasure to serve as your secretary for the 2018-19 Academic year. As secretary, I am responsible for membership renewals as well as other communications to the membership. The primary responsibility of the Chapter Secretary is communication. Please feel free to contact me regarding upcoming activities, or anything else you would like to share with the membership at

Please be sure to renew your membership for this year. You can renew and pay your membership fees at Let’s also encourage and invite our fellow colleagues, to join us this year. The membership renewal period begins in October, with dues payments for the coming year due by January 31, 2019. After Feb. 1 a $10 late fee applies to all renewals. Members who do not renew their membership by March 1 will be deactivated and benefits will be terminated. Lapsed members must pay a $20 or $50 reactivation fee (dependent upon the member’s reactivation date), in addition to full dues for the current year in order to be reinstated.

I look forward to meeting and working with you as we strive towards making this a rewarding year for our students and chapter. May you have a productive year and I look forward to seeing each of you at our chapter events this year!

Jammieca D. Mott, D.M.A.

Jammieca Mott