President’s Letter

Our mission statement is: To encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing; and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented.


October 3, 2017

Hello everyone,

I hope that this letter finds everyone healthy, doing well personally, and with studios filled with enthusiastic, talented, and brilliant students!

We frequently referenced our mission statement during our very successful and thorough meeting on Saturday, September 16th, and we are all excited to share lots of information with everyone.

State Conference and Student Auditions:

This is NEW: Registration is only 2 weeks long, from December 1st through December 15th. Please remember that we, unlike the regional or national level, have the ability to change repertoire choices on the day of our student auditions. This is not ideal, but we do understand that this is a positive option at the state level.

Our reasoning behind the shorter, and earlier registration date, includes the hope is that we can find a registration time and keep it stable from year-to-year, even though the dates we hold the auditions will move somewhat. We tried to take into account our entire membership in coming to this decision. The schedule that you will receive for our state event should be expected two weeks prior to the event. For this year, we should be able to get the schedule out to the membership sometime around January 18th.

Our State Conference and Student Auditions will take place at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, VA, on February 2nd and 3rd.  As you plan for this fantastic event, please know that your presence is required for both days.

Regional Conference and Student Auditions:

Our Regional Conference and Student Auditions will take place at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, VA, on March 16th and 17th.

 Treasurer Report:

Our Treasurer, Alison Rizutto, reported that we are in good shape financially, and because of that, we are looking to start an investment fund. We are going to start it with one thousand dollars, and we will match all donations, up to the first two thousand dollars from the membership, with the goal of being able to invest five thousand dollars. The goal of this investment account is to continue to feed the account from year to year so as to be able to have money, both in reserve, as well as to generate income for the awards. A discussion about the potential desire to increase the amount those winning first, second, and third in their categories arose, and this money would help defer the cost throughout the entire membership.

 Vice-President’s report:

Susan Randolph Braden sent out a survey to the membership. She gathered some wonderful information, and we heard back from about 18% of the membership. We really do value your input, and we’d love to hear from the vast majority of members, so next time, please share your thoughts with us.

Technology Advisor’s report:

We have a section on our website (add url) where we have information regarding summer programs, competitions, etc. ( If you are running a summer program, competition, or have a summer program to recommend, please send that information to Kathleen Bell ( We do not endorse any of the information, but we want to provide it as a place to come do research.

We are constantly trying to improve our website, and keep it up to date. Usually, we don’t change out the website until after our Fall meeting, so be on the lookout for new information. If you don’t see the information you need, please contact either me ( or Kathleen Bell ( We are also looking forward to posting photographs from events, so if you take pictures that you think would be beneficial to the membership, please send them in. We may not be able to post all of them, we will see how many we get. Please do consider taking photos of studio recitals, both for those happening at universities/colleges, as well as in the private studio. A photo of your studio recital might just be the catalyst needed by another member to provide that opportunity for their students, and/or to give someone a great idea about their studio recital.

Nomination Committee:

One piece of information that we received from the aforementioned survey was in response to whether you’d like to serve on the board. There were several individuals who already let us know that they are interested, and if you are interested, but didn’t answer the survey, there’s still time because we’re looking for at least one member-at-large, so please contact Byron Jones (

Musical Theatre:

As we delve further into the development and support of students who wish to pursue musical theatre, we are going to attempt to avoid scheduling our Conference at the same time as the VTA and/or the SETC auditions. Information for which can be found at:, and

Poster Presentation at VANATS and Mid-Atlantic NATS:

We are having poster presentations at our State Conference & Student Auditions, so please send your poster submissions to Alison Rizutto (  and Cindy Donnell (

We are also having poster presentations at the Regional Conference & Student Auditions, so please send your submissions to Kristen Wonderlich ( and Brian Nedvin (


  1. Everything has to be memorized, no exceptions (not even for oratorio)
  2. iPads are not allowed to be used by collaborative artists, and will result in the student being disqualified.
  3. Students may pick their first piece and we are required to hear it in its entirety. We had a couple of students who picked a piece that took up their entire time slot. They may do that, but adjudicators should score accordingly. Therefore; if a category expects a student to sing in three languages, and there is only time to hear a student sing in one language, that student should be scored accordingly.
    1. Only judicious cuts can be made by the student that include: shortening the introduction, interlude(s) and/or postlude.
    2.  Remember that the English song must be an Art Song not an aria from an Oratorio or Opera in English.

New to this year:

We are going to split the Honor’s recital, having one at the end of each day. We will have the Honor’s recital on Friday night, followed by a break (with a cash bar), followed by the Guest Artist’s recital.

Saturday morning will be the membership meeting, along with the regular morning meeting. The masterclass will be during the day on Saturday, and the Honor’s recital for Saturday will happen that afternoon/early evening.

We are all working diligently to make sure that the Virginia NATS event in February is a wonderful one and we hope to see everyone there.

From National: The 2018 renewal period for your membership in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) has begun!

Each year, the renewal period begins Oct. 1 and continues until Jan. 1. NATS membership runs on a calendar year, so your timely renewal ensures that NATS is able to continue to expand its services. By renewing your membership today, it will ensure that you will continue to receive your many NATS benefits, including:

  • A yearly subscription to Journal of Singing, in addition to access to the complete Journal of Singing digital archive on
  • A subscription to the weekly e-newsletter Intermezzo
  • A subscription to the semiannual Inter Nos newsletter (spring and fall)
  • NATS activities
  • Discounts to all NATS events, including the 55th National Conference in Las Vegas
  • The ability to belong to a local NATS chapter
  • Access to participate in Student Auditions at the regional and national level
  • Access to “Members Only” sections of
  • A complete history of all purchases made with NATS, including membership dues renewal, event registrations, chapter dues payments and purchases through the NATS Store.

We’d like to remind you that JANUARY 1 is the actual member renewal deadline. Historically, a grace period in January has been allowed for renewal, prior to a late fee being added. A late renewal fee of $10 is added to all memberships not renewed by Feb. 1.

On behalf of your board,

Most sincerely,

Brian Nedvin




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