Newsletter Fall 2019

From the President


Greetings members,

I hope that you all enjoyed a pleasant summer and have had a successful start to the fall semester thus far. The following are important dates to reserve on your calendars for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Calendar Items

  • Musical Theater Auditions – Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 – Lone Star Montgomery
  • Texoma NATS – October 30 – November 2, 2019 – University of North Texas
  • Classical Auditions – Saturday, March 28, 2020- University of Houston
  • Winners’ Recital – May 3, 2020 at 4:00 PM (Venue TBD)
Angela Pickering

Fall Business Meeting

Our Fall Chapter Business Meeting will be held in conjunction with the Musical Theatre Auditions on Nov. 16 at LoneStar College Montgomery. Watch for emails regarding registration for the auditions around the latter part of September or early October. Be sure to read the auditions chairs portions of the newsletter for important changes and updates regarding auditions.

NATSAA (Application Deadline ends soon)

The NATS Artist Awards Competition (NATSAA) is designed to assist singers prepared to launch a professional career. Presented by the National Association of Teachers of Singing, NATSAA is known nationally as one of the most prestigious awards for classical vocalists, offering more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. The NATSAA application deadline is September 9, 2019. NATSAA is open only to NATS members and their students. Log on to NATS Artist Awards for complete information and application. The 46th NATS Artist Awards semifinal and final rounds will take place in New York, NY, January 10-12, 2020, at The Roosevelt Hotel, and in proximity to a wide audience of artist managers and industry professionals. The competition is in conjunction with the National Association of Teachers of Singing Winter Workshop. Applying for NATSAA? Click this video link for key information: YouTube

NMTC (Application Deadline ends soon)

The National Music Theater Competition (NMTC), presented by the National Association of Teachers of Singing, is the first national competition for the music theater soloist, offering a high-profile opportunity to be seen by today’s most influential music theater professionals. The NMTC application deadline is September 15, 2019. Log on to for complete information and online application. The 2020 NMTC semifinal and final rounds will be held in New York, NY, January 10-12, 2020, at The Roosevelt Hotel. Prizes and awards total more than $15,000, presented by the National Association of Teachers of Singing and sponsored by the NATS Foundation. Applying for NMTC? Click this video link for key information: YouTube

NATS 75th Anniversary

NATS is working aggressively to honor our 75th Anniversary and beyond through fundraising. The national board is strongly encouraging us to celebrate by making a donation to the organization. Your support would be greatly appreciated. GIVE NOW: 75th Anniversary Fund

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 participating in the Greater Houston NATSMusic Theater and Classical auditions. Donna Hinds Sawyers and I are excited to complete our final year as co-chairs for auditions. We greatly value your time and commitment toour chapter. We are pleased that over the past four yearswe have been able to reduce the completion time of the Classical audition day by four hours!We hope to continue that experience for the auditions this year.

The GHNATS Spring Classical Auditions will be on Saturday, March 28, 2020, 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 Music Theater and Classical Auditions this year will occur through the newly updated Auditionware site which is accessed through the website. Registration fees for teachers ($20) and students ($22) help offset the administrative fees we pay to NATSfor using their resources. Each member is provided one boxed lunch with theirregistration. Additional boxed lunches this year will cost $12. Please remember to review the information found on the NATS Student Auditions Resource page and make sure you also understand the complete set of revised guidelines for each category by clicking on the following link: NSA Categories.

Responding to members’needs and desires to become more inclusive of ALL singers regardless of gender, the NATS Board voted to make the following changes to the NSA regulations:

  1. Audition Category Nameshave been changed:
    1. Odd-numbered categories (formerly titled “Women”) are changed to “Treble” to include students singing Soprano, Mezzo, Alto, or Countertenor.
    2. Even-numbered categories (formerly titled “Men”) are changed to “TBB” to include students singing Tenor, Baritone, and Bass.
  2. Music theater song literature has been added as an option for one selection of required repertoire.NATS will provide more information in the coming weeks.
  3. Improvements to the NATS Audition Rubrics:
    • Change of scoring descriptors from “Lowest,” “Average,” and “Best” to “Developing,” “Advancing,” and “Accomplished.”
      • Classical Rubric
    • Expanded definitions of “Mix” and “Belt” on the Music Theater Rubric
      • Musical Theater Rubric
    • Teachers now have access to a Fillable PDF student-information sheetthat they can send to all of their students to complete and return, so that teachers have all of the information they will need prior to completing the students’ registrations.
  4. The use of iPads and tablets as musical scores for collaborative pianists during all levels of NATS auditions has been approved and are held to the same standard as any other musicalscore used for auditions.
  5. NATS wants to encourage the membership to program music by women composersfor the upcoming competition and recital seasons.

I highly suggest you contact and secure your accompanists now to reserve these dates in their calendars (November 16, 2019for Music Theater/CCMand March 28, 2020for Classical). Since MusicTheater/CCMand 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 copyright policyeven when using iPads.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the Vice-President of Classical Auditions these past four years. I wish everyone a smooth and successful year of teaching! If you have any questions, please email me at

Michael Walsh

From the Vice-President of Musical Theatre



I hope you are well and excited to start our new season in GHNATS.

We begin with Musical Theatre Auditions on Saturday November 16, 2019 at LoneStar College Montgomery Campus. We are so grateful to Michael Walsh for hosting us in this beautiful venue. The recital hall is gorgeous and singer friendly.

For those of you who have not been out to the campus, it is a quick ride north via Hardy Toll or I45 north, especially on a Saturday morning.

I encourage you to join us. We have a spirited event, encouraging a diversity of musical styles and healthy, functional singing. Musical Theatre categories showcase a set of songs contrasting in style, era, and registration.

Our CCM category, for singers aged 18 and up, has been a hit. LoneStar is graciously providing a microphone, so that our presentations are authentically represented. The repertoire choices include pop, rock, jazz, country; you name it!

I look forward to seeing all of you. Please send any questions you may have.


Donna Hinds Sawyers
Vice President of Musical Theatre Auditions, GHNATS
Voice Faculty, SHSU Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre
Executive Director, Studio Bella Voce

Donna Hinds

Report from the Vice-President of Workshops


This past March, GH NATS was thrilled to host Dr. Loraine Sims from Louisiana State University at the Classical Auditions for a presentation on transgender and non-binary students in the voice studio, which was partially funded through a NATS Discretionary Fund Grant from the national office. Dr. Sims shared her expertise in this area through her research and personal teaching, and this information will be even more valuable as NATS moves to be more inclusive in our auditions. This year, the subject of the Classical Auditions Workshop will focus on vocal health, and we are also discussing the possibility of bringing a clinician to the Greater Houston area for a musical theatre workshop/residency. We are looking forward to another good year!

Deborah Popham

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, collaborative pianists and coaches who are passionate about 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 Professor of Voice
Full-Time Faculty,
Houston Community College 832-492-4721

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

P.P.S. GHNATS has a Facebook page where you can post your professional and scholarly activities.

Frances Fenton

From the Secretary


It is my esteemed pleasure to serve as your secretary for the 2019-20Academic 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’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, 2020. After Feb. 1 a $10 late fee applies to all renewals. Members who do not renewtheir 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