News from the 2012 NATS 52nd National Conference, Orlando, Florida

I have been here in Orlando since Monday, July 23rd. Tuesday, June 24th at 7:30AM (no less) I presented an idea for publication. That led to another presentation on Wednesday. I met with them again today, and there is a possibility they may do this. We’ll see.

Yes, there was a hurricane. The flight from Atlanta was so bumpy they couldn’t serve any drinks on the flight! Now that was not good! Yes, there was torrential rain, yes, there was great wind, but here at the huge Renaissance at Sea World Hotel, we are in a world unto itself. You don’t even need to walk the 1/2 mile to Sea World. You are surrounded in the hotel by cascading waterfalls and by huge wall-sized videos of peaceful underwater scenes and corral with flickering shadows on the sandy bottom of the deep blue sea.
The Artist Awards: Semi-Finals Competition was held on Thursday, June 2. There were 15 contestants from all over America. Cascade Chapter NATS Member Linda Brice sponsored Nathan Kondrat, Baritone, who represented the Northwest Region in the Artist Award competition. Nathan and his wonderful pianist Rebecca Stager performed beautifully. Although, they would not be put in the Finals, Nathan has received much support and encouragement. Thank goodness Linda Brice, Voice faculty at OSU, at the time, recognized Nathan’s talent while he was a student there and encouraged him to enter the ‘priestly world of singing’. We are all grateful to her for her wisdom and guidance. The winner chosen is Andrew Garland, Vocal Faculty from Brown University. He is 35 years old and already in a professional career, but now he has won a Carnegie Hall debut, and that doesn’t hurt! He and Nathan became fast friends. As I read the program of past Artist Award winners, I felt very nostalgic as I read Debra Wilke’s name as the winner in Toronto in 1998 with our own talented Signe Lusk at the piano. Has it been that long ago? What a journey that was!
 Workshops and Classes: It has been a whirlwind of workshops, recitals, exhibitions and the best part: making new friends. I always learn so much from my colleagues. I have a couple of young singers/teachers who want to come out to Portland and do some coaching or vocal study. One of the best seminars I have attended: Mindful Voice: the Singing Teacher in the Age of the Cognitive Revolution led by Lynn Helding. Brilliant. There is a tremendous buzz here concerning the Carnegie Hall Royal Achievement Academy Program and I got a free syllabus!
Another inspiring event was the Hal Leonard Publishing Company’s demonstration of new editions and we heard great new repertoire. I am bringing back DVD’s and CD’s and lots of music at a discount, but the discount is minimal if I have to pay for extra baggage! So, I decided to have everything shipped. I just won’t have the jewels of wisdom from the convention in my possession for about 3 weeks.
So, in a way, it has been a hurricane all week here at NATS. I can’t wait to get home and drive my new car, and digest all this amazing whirl of information and share it with NATS Members and my singers. Nathan Gunn is holding a Master Class tomorrow and Nathan Kondrat has been chosen to sing in it. I am glad I am not flying out before I get to attend that class.


I will be 65 years old on July 5th, and I really can’t believe it. So, I will see you when I am 65!


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