Chicago 2022



While nothing can replace an actual hug from a colleague or the experience of singing all together in one room, we understand not everyone can attend the 57th NATS national conference in person.
So, we've got the next best thing... a STREAMING option!
For $395, NATS is offering 14 sessions to livestream for a total of 17.5 hours of content. If you purchase the livestream option, it also includes COMPLIMENTARY six-month access to video replays of all sessions after the conference concludes through the NATS Live Learning Center.
Please note: The livestream option is located under "D. Other" on the registration page.


All times are listed in Central Time.

Friday, July 1 

  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. Breakout Session: "Classroom Strategies for the Independent Voice Studio – Practical applications of educational tools in private voice lessons." Presenters: Shannon Coates, Sara Campbell, Gabriela Farias

    • Voice teachers rarely have the opportunity to study education theories in a meaningful way, or to apply evidence-based teaching practices long known to classroom educators toward improving voice students’ learning outcomes. This activity-based, interactive session introduces fundamental education strategies including backward design, differentiated instruction and assessment, and student-led/inquiry-based learning protocols. We will explore why these strategies are effective, introduce ways to build on successful strategies already employed in your studio and offer practical guides to implementing new teaching protocols. This session’s presenters have specialized training in adult academic learning, children’s classroom teaching, and one-on-one instruction of voice students of all ages. We are passionate about supporting voice teachers who may not have had formal opportunities to develop their teaching skills in an academic context. Participants will be encouraged to re-envision their studio policies, lesson structures, and learning assessments. We hope you will come away feeling invigorated and excited to get back into the voice studio and teach even more effectively.

  • 8-9:30 p.m. Plenary Session: GRAND SongSLAM

    • NATS is delighted to collaborate with Sparks and Wiry Cries to bring the first-ever Grand SongSLAM to life! A SongSLAM is a unique event for emerging composer and performer teams to premiere new art song. In the poetry-slam tradition, audience members vote on their favorite performances and award cash prizes. Be in the room when teams from across the country present their new art songs composed especially for this event. Vote on your favorite and help determine the prize winners! Even better, visit the teams at their exhibit hall booth to purchase their works.

Saturday, July 2

  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. Breakout Session: "I Could Never Do That: The Musical." Presenter: Eden Casteel

    • What if your next studio recital was a livestreamed, interactive musical variety show? Eden Casteel shares how the pandemic transformed her independent studio in a hilarious one-woman musical cabaret, "I Could Never Do That: The Musical." Learn how Eden turned her studio's events into customized showcases, using music technology and a lot of trial and error. You'll leave with ideas of how to change your studio's "I Could Never" into "What If?" (Why is this NATS presentation a musical? What's the title again?)

  • 1-3:30 p.m. Plenary Session: Opening Ceremony 57th National Conference, Community Sing with Clarice Assad

    • GRAMMYⓇ Award-nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist, and passionate educator Clarice Assad leads our 2022 Community Sing. Growing up in Brazil in a musical family before studying music in the states, her music is known for its evocative colors, rich textures and diverse stylistic range. As an innovator, she has presented her award-winning education program, Voxploration, throughout the United States, Brazil, Europe and Qatar. Her musical gifts are sought-after by artists and organizations worldwide, and we are thrilled to welcome this multi-talented musician to our stage. In a first for NATS, we will collectively premiere “Amazonia” — a work that she has written specifically for this event!

Sunday, July 3

  • 9-10 a.m. Breakout Session: "Nothing but Practical: Pre-Performance and In-Performance Strategies to Minimize Anxiety." Presenters: Katherine Jolly, Karen Leigh-Post

    • This experiential workshop will provide participants with proven pre-performance and in-performance strategies for optimal and even peak performance absent anxiety. Exercises are founded in performance-based research with measurable outcomes for well-being (e.g., reduced heart rate and stress-hormone levels) from the sciences of perceptual-motor psychology and neural anatomy, as well as mind-body awareness techniques incorporating yoga, breathing, and meditation. Music Performance Anxiety (MPA) is a common and often debilitating problem for high-level singers. If the overarching purpose of the nervous system is to maintain homeostasis, how do we zone-in to an ideal performing state? Per the Yerkes-Dodson law of arousal, performance is optimized when we regulate anxiety by matching energy levels to the task at hand. When we get our thinking right, we are rewarded by heightened awareness and the synchronization of the whole of our neural being. We look forward to sharing new collaborative research, with time for a question-and-answer session.

  • 10:30 a.m. to noon. Plenary Session: Keynote address/Q&A. Presenter: Craig Terry

    • Collaborative pianist Craig Terry is extraordinary. He works with emerging singers in the Ryan Opera Center on a daily basis while also performing regularly with some of the most celebrated singers of our time. A collaborator and creative force, this GRAMMY® Award winner has been on a mission to broaden the musical palates of performers and audiences for decades. His passion for original programming, fostered by his diverse musical experiences growing up in rural middle Tennessee, has led him on interesting journeys, which he will share in this address. Plus, he will lead us in one of his very own mashups during the session.

Monday, July 4

  • 9-10 a.m. Breakout Session: "What Do You Really KNOW About The American Negro Spiritual (TANS)? Let’s talk: what it is, what it isn’t and how to present respectful performances of The American Negro Spiritual in classical vocal programming, with experienced guidance and student demonstrations! Part 1." Presenters: Alexis Davis-Hazell, Barbara Hill Moore, Marcía Porter, Everett McCorvey

    • Presenters for this session have served on the committee for NATS American Negro Spiritual and Hall Johnson Spirituals competitions and are frequently consulted regarding repertoire for both categories. In the first session of this two-part presentation, the presenters will discuss the history and origins of the American Negro Spiritual as well as situate the genre in the classical repertory. Other topics covered will include performance practices, suitable omissions of text, appropriate embellishments, use of dialect, and vocal styles. Participants from the Hall Johnson competition will perform select examples of repertoire. The afternoon session will cover different topics related to the spiritual.

  • 10:30 a.m. to noon. Plenary Session: "Singing and Speaking Salvation." Presenter: H. Steven Sims

    • Steven Sims, director of the Chicago Institute for Voice Care at the UIC Medical Center in Chicago, will speak specifically about his work with gospel singers and preachers as laryngologist while sharing with us his research and work as an advocate for access to voice care to underserved populations. He is a board certified laryngologist who chose a career in professional voice care as an extension of his two passions, medicine and singing. A graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine, Sims completed his clinical fellowship at the Vanderbilt Voice Center and is a current appointee of the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders Advisory Council with the National Institutes of Health. He also is an accomplished musician who plays the trombone, bassoon and piano. He was a member of choirs during his undergraduate at Yale University and is an experienced vocalist as well. He is able to use his personal experiences and education to address the problems of singers, performing artists and other voice professionals. The Chicago Institute for Voice Care is dedicated to increasing the awareness and treatment of the unique issues faced by performing artists and providing comprehensive care.

  • 2-3:30 p.m. Plenary Session: Master Class with John Holiday

    • Conference artist John Holiday will work with singers on diverse repertoire, sharing his expertise and offering guidance to young artists who will perform.

  • 5-6 p.m. Breakout Session: "Story-driven Singing: Training expressive voices in CCM styles." Presenters: Matt Edwards, Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards

    • Cultures throughout the world sing to communicate the human experience in all of its highs, lows, and in-betweens. Yet oftentimes when discussing voice pedagogy, we get so excited by the science that we focus on sound production alone. But what if our attempt to categorize technical adjustments is actually taking away artists’ ability to authentically communicate their experiences? What if the real secret to success is not a vocal quality that we can quantify with a spectrogram but rather a vocal quality that matches our expectations for certain emotional states of being? In this workshop, participants will learn how to teach singers to let their special awareness, circles of energy, and intent lead the way in making vocal and musical choices. By training singers to let the voice follow the actor/storyteller, teachers will be able to help singers from all cultural backgrounds bring their stories to life like never before.

Tuesday, July 5

  • 9-10 a.m. Breakout Session: "Flipping the Voice Pedagogy Frame." Presenters: Yvonne Gonzales Redman, Joshua Glasner, Nicholas Perna

    • This presentation will share new ideas that consider both what can be taught in a voice pedagogy course and how it can be taught. Instructors have many competing considerations related to designing voice pedagogy curricula. Such considerations include but are not limited to: determining a hierarchy of fundamental topics, choosing supplementary material, and selecting appropriate delivery methods/modalities. A voice pedagogy instructor's greatest asset is not simply command over a vast field of knowledge, but the way in which they use that knowledge and their experience to help singers to communicate expressively and freely. A 'flipped' voice pedagogy course prioritizes not the transfer of knowledge, but the many opportunities to help future voice teachers to hone their skills and to apply evidence-based pedagogy in a controlled environment. Join us in a conversation that explores the ways in which we may inspire future voice teachers as well as our own methods.

  • 10:30 a.m. to noon. Plenary Session: "Where do we go from here?" Presenters: Albert R. Lee, Alejandra Valarino Boyer, and Daniel Fung

    • Two years ago, our organization grappled with the state of race relations in our country and made a firm commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our organization. This session is a broad assessment of the effectiveness of our efforts and an opportunity to cast a renewed vision for DEI's future in the organization and in our studios.

  • 2-3:30 p.m. Plenary Session: NATSAA and NMTC Winners Recital

    • 2022 NATSAA Winner; Claire McCahan, mezzo-soprano; Barbie Noyes, pianist
    • 2020 NMTC Winner: Lauren Carr, vocalist; Amanda Hopson, pianist
    • 2022 NMTC Winner; David Young, vocalist; Amanda Hopson, pianist

  • 4-5 p.m. Breakout Session: "Toward Justice and Shared Humanity: Art Song of Black Americans as Lens, Language, Vision, and Hope." Presenters: Ollie Watts Davis, Casey Robards

    • Soprano Ollie Watts Davis and pianist Casey Robards will share a recital of art song by Black Americans. Representative works include song literature by Francis Hall Johnson, Henry Thacker Burleigh, Margaret Allison Bonds, Charles Lloyd, Jr., H. Leslie Adams, and John Daniels Carter, with texts by the foremost Black writers of the early to mid-20th century. An interactive lecture, narrating the objective and development of the recital and including a time for questions and responses, will follow the performance. This session traces the experiences of Black Americans through their song and literature and in their voice. It advances the notion that progress is beyond statements and initial inclusion of “underrepresented” works, but demands initiatives that lead to an understanding of the social and cultural histories and contexts that informed the creative output.