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Advocacy Initiatives

A few words from the chair – Loraine Sims

Now in our third year, the NATS Advocacy Committee is continuing with our charge to promote diversity in repertoire. We now wish to broaden our efforts to advocate for diversity and inclusion in all areas of our organization. We will continue to have repertoire initiatives that highlight diverse repertoire. We will continue to spotlight diversity through the achievements of our members. We will continue to provide resources to help in your search for more diverse repertoire to program and assign to students. We hope you will take advantage of these resources and share with us in advocating for diversity, inclusivity, and equity.  

NATS Celebrates Composers

The Lost Romantic Songs of Louise Reichardt, by Amy Pfrimmer

Advancing the music of women composers

The NATS Advocacy Committee, with the support of the NSA Committee and NATS leadership, is supporting an endeavor to promote diversity in repertoire selection by choosing a different theme biennially. Our first initiative will be music by women composers. We want to encourage the membership to program music by women during the competition and recital seasons. READ MORE

We invite you to join us and invite you to send resources you may have to Advocacy Committee Chairperson, Loraine Sims at .

Spotlight on Diversity

 Willis Patterson 

Willis Patterson became a pioneer in the world of opera when in 1963 he integrated the NBC-TV production of headshots/Willis_Patterson.jpgMenotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. This was the first time American audiences had seen a Black man cast in the role of King Balthazar in this holiday favorite and it marked an important milestone in television history. He concertized extensively throughout his career in the U.S. and Europe, was a Fulbright Fellow, a winner of the Marian Anderson Award for young singers, and appeared as bass soloist with major American orchestras. His impact on the field of singing, however, was cemented with his groundbreaking research and performance of African American art song and the publication in 1977 of his anthology The Music of Black Americans with Kalmus, which remains in print and is a tremendous publishing success.  His importance as an educator and administrator is equal to his importance as a performer. Patterson, professor emeritus of voice and former associate dean, joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1968, as the first African American member of the School of Music faculty, after having taught at Southern University (Louisiana) and Virginia State College. At Michigan he worked tirelessly to recruit minority students and faculty and to solidify Michigan as a hub for African American art song research and performance. His advocacy extends beyond the confines of the university to encompass his leadership in organizations such his presidency of the National Association of Negro Musicians and his work as executive secretary of the National Black Music Caucus. The community of Ann Arbor (and indeed the state) have benefitted from his musical excellence in concert repertoire and jazz, his engagement with the community (he is the founder of The Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale that provides an opportunity for members of the community to perform African American song throughout the region and provides music lessons for underserved students) and his philanthropy as a co-founder of the Ann Arbor Community Fund. Willis Patterson's legacy is a testament to the impact that sustained advocacy can have within any discipline.  

 - Louise Toppin

Patricia Caicedo 


Recognized as The Voice of the Latin American and Iberian Art Song and often described as its ambassador, Colombian-Spanish soprano and musicologist Patricia Caicedo has sung in the United States, Canada, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Germany, Puerto Rico, and Latin-America. READ MORE




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Randye Jones

So You Want to Sing Spirituals: A Guide for Performers

The NATS Advocacy Committee would like to encourage you to celebrate Black History Month. In the United States, Black History Month runs through the month of February. READ MORE For more resources also see


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Anna Hersey

Scandinavian Song: A Guide to Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish Repertoire and Diction

"Scandinavian art songs are a unique expression of the cultures of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Although these three countries are distinct from one another, their languages and cultures share many similarities." READ MORE


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Kathleen Roland-Silverstein

Romanser: 25 Swedish Art Songs with Guide to Swedish Lyric Diction

"My experience with the beautiful romanser repertoire of Sweden has been a wonderful resource for me as a performer and scholar, and for my students who look to add varied and unusual repertoire to their performances." READ MORE


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Mutsumi Moteki and Kumiko Shimizu

Japanese Art Song Anthology, Volumes 1 and 2 for High and Medium/Low Voice
Edited by Kumiko Shimizu and Mutsumi Moteki, Classical Vocal Reprint. READ MORE

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The Charge to the Committee

from NATS Past President Karen Brunssen

The Advocacy Committee shall work in the best interests of NATS for means and information about:

  1. Advocacy that encourages music/singing in education.
  2. Advocacy that encourages diversity in our NATS activities and in the larger musical/singing community.
  3. Advocacy that encourages support of the arts, including music/singing, by government, businesses, and communities.
  4. Advocacy that encourages inclusion in our NATS activities and in the larger musical/singing community.

Possible initiatives befitting NATS may include:

  1. Resources, information and studies about arts/music advocacy
  2. Identify successful initiatives
  3. Connectivity and collaboration with other arts organizations
  4. Education about different aspects of advocacy
  5. Benefits of Singing

Committee Members

  • Loraine Sims, chair
  • Jill Terhaar Lewis, recording secretary
  • Stephen Ng
  • Isai Jess Muñoz
  • Marcía Porter
  • Gregory Brookes
  • Darryl Taylor
  • Anna Lantry
  • Matthew Valverde