from NATS President Karen Brunssen
The Advocacy Committee shall work in the best interests of NATS for means and information about:
Possible initiatives befitting NATS may include:
Advocacy means many things. The charge given to the NATS Advocacy Committee by NATS President Karen Brunssen leads us in several different directions, as this topic can be somewhat overwhelming. We recognize that we should have diversity in our membership to make us stronger. Our committee has agreed that we are going to begin with providing resources for our members to encourage the use of diverse repertoire for singers. Repertoire from underrepresented communities, whether that be because of ethnicity, gender or even because the languages are unfamiliar, offer each of us and our students an integral way to experience the music, poetry, stories, rhythms, and harmonies of vocal music from many cultures around the world.
As this committee looks within to see how we can impact advocacy in our various corners of the world, I also plan to begin with a hard look at the repertoire requirements that my university uses for jury and recital selections. For example, we have a form that is used for our junior advancement juries that asks our students to list the repertoire done in the first two years as a Bachelor of Music major in these categories: 1. Early Italian Songs and Arias, 2. Early English Songs, 3. Baroque/Classical Songs by Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, 4. Lieder, 5. French Art Songs, 6. British/American Songs, 7. Miscellaneous Art Songs and Arias, and 8. Musical Theater Songs.
Perhaps you have something similar that you use with your students. We have that catch-all category for “Miscellaneous Art Songs and Arias,” but is that really enough? I think we can do better to broaden our expectations and help our students become aware that there is a wonderfully diverse world of music that may not yet fall into the traditional cannon of song repertoire choices. How often do you assign repertoire by African American composers? Women composers? LGBTQ+ composers? Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Brazilian, Russian, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Canadian etc. composers? The list could go on and on and to encourage diversity, it really should.
It is the hope of the NATS Advocacy committee to provide resources that help all of us become better champions for advocacy and diversity. We live in a global community and what can help us better understand those different from ourselves than exploring through the lens of music? In addition to listing links for advocacy and those to help find new repertoire, we will spotlight individuals whose research is helping to equip us for change and growth. We hope to have a calendar of special celebrations to direct our thoughts toward diversity in our programming. We invite you to join us and invite you to send resources you may have to Advocacy Committee Chairperson, Loraine Sims at .
The NATS Advocacy web page will offer Voice Advocacy Resource, Spotlight on Advocacy, and the Voice Advocacy Calendar. It can be a source of valuable information that edifies your work as it relates to advocacy for inclusion, diversity, education and supporting the musical and vocal arts.
Japanese Art Song Anthology, Volumes 1 and 2 for High and Medium/Low Voice
Edited by Kumiko Shimizu and Mutsumi Moteki, Classical Vocal Reprint