KC Music students share their experience from NATS competition

December 21, 2022

Three women in front of a brick building

Pictured (l-r): KC Music Students Amanda Taylor, Emily Thomason, and Chloe Beal.

Kaskaskia College Music Professor Lynda Marshall recently took three vocal music students to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL, to complete in the National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS) Central Region Student Auditions. 

NATS competitors included KC students Amanda Taylor (freshman, majoring in Music Therapy), Emily Thomason (freshman, majoring in vocal performance with an emphasis in Musical Theatre), and Chloe Beal (sophomore, majoring in vocal performance with an emphasis in Classical/Opera). Both freshmen competed in the preliminary round and gave excellent performances. Sophomore Chloe Beal, competed in the preliminary round, advanced to semi-finals, and then advanced to finals where she earned second place in the 2nd-year Classical Treble Division, a huge honor at this level. Beal earned the opportunity compete in the National Student Auditions being held in San Diego, California, this coming summer.
Additionally, Chloe Beal had the honor of being selected to participate in the Performance Class with Christine Brewer, Grammy Award-winning American soprano, on Friday night of the auditions. 

Chloe Beal shared the following about her experience:

“While this was not my first time participating in the NATS competition, this was my first time doing the competition in person. Due to COVID restrictions at the time, we could only submit videos online. I appreciate having done the competition in a video format because that helped me be more versed in something I wasn't used to. That being said, the live competition was so much fun! I got to be around all these talented individuals, including my friends/colleagues that went with me. 

The talent there was insane, and I also heard so many diverse pieces of music, some that I had never heard before. One piece that stands out to me was one performed in a performance class, and the selection was based on an actor's perspective in a minstrel show. Speaking of the performance class, I participated in the same one! The performance class was with Christine Brewer, and she's such a moving performer. I had watched her live in a performance before but didn't think I would participate in a performance class with her one day. I was extremely nervous about doing it, but I was at ease when I sang the piece. She was very friendly and relaxed, which made me feel better. It was such a neat experience to participate in the class! 

Something else different from last year was that I made the finals. Sure, I expected to do well, but I could have done better. Even though it was a bit of a whirlwind, I'm proud of how I performed and my friends/colleagues. We represented not just the music department well but KC as a whole.”

Emily Thomason shared the following about her experience:
“Competing at NATS was a fantastic experience. It was my first time competing professionally, and the preparation was fascinating. Being a part of the musical theatre portion of the competition was intimidating to me at first, especially considering the other people I went with singing in the classical portion. However, hearing other people performing in musical theatre showed me my potential for the future. I received helpful feedback from the judges on what I did well and what I could improve. I also had the opportunity to sit through a masterclass. Some of the pointers given to the other singers were things I had never heard, but the difference they made in the performances was astonishing. Overall, it was a fantastic learning experience, and I cannot wait to participate again next year.”

Amanda Taylor shared the following about her experience: 
“The NATS competition was a fantastic experience for me as a first-year college student. Because of the pandemic, I have not been able to perform live since 2019. I had the privilege to hear many different voices and categories of singers. I was judged fairly by people my age, so everything was equal. I love that you are judged by people who are at the same level as you. All three of my judges gave constructive criticism to better me as a vocalist. Overall, the experience was fun and beneficial as a music major.”

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