November 2021 Minutes

Greater Houston NATS Fall Business Meeting Minutes
Saturday, November 13, 12:30 pm
Location: Zoom (online)

Board members in attendance:

  • Michael Walsh (president)
  • Debora Popham (VP-classical auditions)
  • Karen Rees (VP-MT auditions)
  • Lee Gregory (Interim VP-workshops)
  • David Kirkwood (Treasurer)
  • Mikhail Smigelski (Secretary)

Meeting came to order at 12:30 pm.

  1. Michael Walsh opened the meeting and introduced board members. Frances Fenton was absent, but once a month Michael gets updated about new members joining GHNATS, and Frances and Michael reach out to greet them.
  2. Who will be the guest clinician for the spring has not been decided yet, but as soon as Lee Gregory and Michael Walsh have the information, they will be notify the membership.
  3. Karen Rees gave a brief update on Musical Theatre auditions. Final round went well, we had 2 staff accompanist, 23 students in Finals. Guest judges were Monique Midgette, Stephonne Smith, and Blythe Kirkwood.
  4. Debora Popham gave a brief update on upcoming Classical Auditions. Preliminary rounds – online, March 19 – live finals.
  5. Livestream from MT finals is available on our chapter’s YouTube channel.
  6. Michael Walsh encouraged all members to join GHNATS Facebook group.
  7. We are celebrating 51 years of our chapter and currently have 89 members. Michael Walsh encouraged everyone to go on the website and read newsletter, chapter history and Bylaws. is newly redesigned. “Find a teacher” page is moved to The member page is updated without email addresses to prevent spam and phishing emails. Members do not need to log into to register to any competition. Everything now is hosted by and held through Auditionware.
  8. About a month ago, NATS posted new judging rubrics for Classical, Musical Theatre and Commercial Music. CM is open to high school, college, and adult categories. Michael Walsh encouraged everyone to go to and watch the supplemental videos that help to understand the judging criteria for each genre.
  9. David Kirkwood gave a quick update: Our chapter’s finances are doing well, current balance $19,707.15, including fees that we took in for MT competition, minus expenses for pianists, guest judges, and clinicians.
  10. Our chapter was very well represented at 2021 Texoma Conference. 12 our members either had finalists or winners. Michael Walsh encouraged everyone to join Texoma NATS Members Facebook Group to get latest updates from the region.
  11. Michael Walsh encouraged members to update their Member Directory contact information on
  12. Michael Walsh addressed the issue of diversity of our chapter. We need to make sure our membership is as diverse as our student population.
  13. Winners’ Recital is TBA in May 2022, hopefully in live format.
  14. Michael Walsh asked members to keep researching spaces that can accommodate future auditions and Winners’ recitals. Priority should be given to affordable spaces that are centrally located. It also must have about ten rooms with pianos and two larger performance spaces for Finals. Hybrid format will be also considered as an option moving forward.
  15. Vote on Bylaws updates is due December 9. (Was sent by email on 11/09/21) One of the proposals is to add a mission statement to our bylaws: To promote a lifetime appreciation of singing and to advance excellence in singing through teaching, performance, scholarship, and research. Another – to eliminate a Vice president of college vocal music fair position.
  16. Michael Walsh asked for feedback on how to improve participation and engagement.
  17. Debra Greschner said that it’d be great if we could regularly sponsor sending our chapter president to the National Conference. Michael Walsh took the suggestion. The board is going to discuss it and the Chapter will take the vote probably at the Spring business meeting.

Meeting was adjourned at 1 pm.