Students shine at NATS conference
GCU News Bureau
Dr. Rachel Velarde, associate professor of music, recently took six current and recent graduates of the GCU Student National Association of Teachers of Singing Learning Community to Las Vegas for the national NATS conference.
Students volunteered for 15 hours; attended concerts, sessions and masterclasses; got to know other SNATS chapters; and met international opera stars Christine Brewer, soprano; Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano; and Alton Fitzgerald White, who played the role of Mufasa in “The Lion King” on Broadway for eight years. They also met singer/songwriter Mandy Harvey of “America’s Got Talent”; Jaime Bernstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein; Dr. Johan Sundberg, session speaker and leading international researcher on the acoustics of music and the science of the singing voice; Dr. Ian Howell, Director of Voice Pedagogy at the New England Conservatory; and Dr. Scott McCoy, author of the textbook used in GCU voice pedagogy class.
In addition to attending conference sessions, Velarde judged the high school music theater finals of the NATS National Student Auditions competition and performed on the Graphite Publishing “Publisher’s Showcase,” highlighting contemporary art song composition.
Velarde said of GCU’s students, “All who met our students commented on how amazing they were and how willing to do anything asked of them.”