NATS provides Simpson vocal majors chance to practice for ‘real world’ auditions

by Drew RiebhoffLifestyles Editor

Students from Simpson’s music department made a strong representation at this year’s statewide competition for the National Association of Teachers of Singing, which was held the weekend of Oct. 31 through Nov. 1 at Wartburg College in Waverly.

NATS offers students participating in the event the chance to gain more experience in the music performance world outside of Simpson College.

“It’s a great performance experience that happens outside of Simpson College,” junior Lauren Hartman and winner of the junior women’s division-A said. “It’s a good opportunity to see what’s out there in Iowa.”

The competition is divided into a male and female division for each year of study in college. There are also high school and graduate school divisions. Each student performs for a total of ten minutes, with a maximum of three different musical selections, each of which is in a different language.

The competition consists of three rounds: preliminaries, semi-finals and finals – in which the top three performers in each division compete for cash prizes and bragging rights. Simpson had representatives in all college level divisions and left the competition with a total of 13 singers receiving a top three finish or honorable mention, including three students who took home first place prize.

NATS is also an opportunity for students to get over the stage fright that most beginning performers usually have.

“In the beginning of every singer’s college career there is some discomfort and awkwardness when performing,” senior, Shannon Prickett, who won the senior women’s division, said. “Every year at NATS, I seem to become more comfortable and less afraid on stage. NATS can prepare you for the ‘real world’ of auditioning, which can be pretty nerve-wracking.”

A big benefit to the competition is the opportunity performers have to receive comments from voice teachers from across the state.

“It’s good to get written comments from other judges on how you’re doing,” senior Andrew Weischeit said.

Prickett thinks that listening to these other professionals can really aid a performer in their growth.

“NATS can give singers insight to the development of their craft by being able to listen to other people’s point of view,” she said.

Networking with students across the state is another opportunity students at NATS have.

“We get to meet and talk to students at other schools, both undergraduates and graduates,” sophomore Amy Willet, second place finisher in the sophomore women’s division, said. “It’s an opportunity to see what’s being taught at other schools and see how Simpson compares.”

NATS can also be beneficial to students who go as accompanists for the performers.

Weischeit, who competed in the senior men’s division of NATS also served as an accompanist to eight other performers representing Simpson.

“NATS is also nice as an accompanist,” Weischeit said. “I get my hands on new music that I haven’t seen before.”

NATS also provides opportunities for participants of networking, outside commentary and help with stage fright. It often leaves Simpson students with the feeling that they’re doing something right.

“Simpson tends to do really well at NATS,” Willet said. “It can really make you feel better and know that you’re getting a good education and doing something right.”