SUU Vocal Students Move to Semi-Finals

Published: May 29, 2018 | Author: Ashley H Pollock | Read Time: 2 minutes

Student Claire Robinson sings in a choir performance.Two Southern Utah University vocal students, choral music education major, Ashley Stackhouse, and vocal performance major, Claire Robinson, have advanced to the semi-finals of the National Student Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Under the direction of Professor Carol Ann Modesitt and accompanied by Tracey Bradshaw, Stackhouse and Robinson have shown talent and professionalism. 

Dr. Lawrence Johnson, Chair of the Department of Music at SUU, said, “This is an incredible feat. They had to advance through a NATS local chapter round, a Cal-Western Regional round, and finally a national YouTube round in order to be in the top 14 singers in their categories, competing against hundreds of singers throughout the United States, truly making them the ‘best of the best’ of the nation's college singers. We are extremely proud and excited for our singers who are able to compete at such a high level and represent the teaching and artistic excellence at SUU.” 

Claire Robinson said, “NATS is almost an all year experience. The music I'm singing now I've been working on for almost nine months. However, I'm still finding things that need improvement. Having the opportunity to sing the music and study it for so long has helped me understand and connect with it more. Each division I get feedback and work to make my performance better. There's always something that can be improved even if you're singing all the right notes.” 

The National Association of Teachers of Singing is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world. Their mission statement articulates that they are, “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.” With these goals in mind, having two students from SUU participate and move forward is an honor. 

Ashley Stackhouse said, “The most important training I did came from consistent practice and a positive attitude. It’s so easy to say ‘I’ll practice tomorrow’ and give yourself the day off, but I knew I needed to spend quality time practicing every day if I wanted to be successful. Professor Modesitt consistently gave me challenging music and instruction on how to best perform the songs. Dr. McCoy taught me to push the boundaries set by the music world and be the type of performer that I want to be, not the type that other people think I should be. They helped me achieve my goals by believing in my abilities and pushing me to excel and succeed.”  

Stackhouse and Robinson will compete live in the semi-finals round at the NATS National Convention in Las Vegas at UNLV on Friday, June 22, 2018. The top three singers in each category will then advance to the national finals held at the Tropicana in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 24, 2018. 

For more information about the Department of Music at SUU, please visit

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