NATS for a Lifetime - Evelyn Harris

Evelyn_Harris_-_FedEx_Scan_2019-07-05_12-43-52_002_.jpgI am honored and flattered to be asked to write a NATS for a Lifetime article. I grew up singing. My parents said I sang all the time and my wise mother taught me songs when I was a toddler. Growing up, I sang in church choirs and on various programs. I also sang in choirs in Junior High and in High School, graduating from Boise High School as Valedictorian.

I attended Brigham Young University on academic and music scholarships. I received a B.A. from Brigham Young University in 1957. Later, I received my M.A. in music also from Brigham Young University. While in college, I sang in Acapella Choir, often as a soloist. I also sang leads in in several operas and oratorios as well singing on many programs and assemblies. I began my teaching career as a graduate assistant in voice as I studied and earned my master's degree.

Upon graduating we moved to Ogden, Utah where I established a home studio and taught a girls' choir in a private high school. I soon became acquainted with several voice teachers who were members of NATS. They encouraged me to join, which I promptly did. In the NATS chapter meetings, I was so grateful for my association with many wonderful mature and experienced teachers. I learned so much from them: their teaching methods – observing their students, attending master classes they presented; participating in workshops with them, auditions, recitals, competitions, and engaging in many conversations with my NATS colleagues. I believe you can learn from everyone and I have benefited from this privilege all my teaching career through my association with NATS.

During all my years of teaching, now 60, it has been necessary to keep learning new styles of singing such as Broadway, CCM, country, “pop,” “belting,” and others. I've been able to use the wonderful, informative articles in the NATS Journal of Singing, through the workshops and attending the National Conventions/Conferences. All these opportunities to learn and stay current in the teaching of singing have been limitless. I've served in many offices in our local chapter. The NATS Journal is invaluable as a continuing education tool for constant learning and staying current in the new styles of singing and performance. I am so grateful for the dedicated people who keep NATS thriving nationally and within the states and provide a marvelous resource for voice teachers.

Soon after I began teaching in Ogden, I began teaching at Weber College, a two -year junior college where I started a part-time position teaching voice, a vocal workshop class, and a lady's choir. I grew up with the college as it became a four-year college and then a university. During this time period, I taught many classes, and always had a choir. First a lady's choir and then Weber State Singers - a show choir that performed 50-60 times each year. In all my vocal teaching, I've utilized all the things I've learned in NATS. I developed a degree in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy. I quit teaching full time and supposedly retired in 2000. I still teach a few private students for college credit and have an active alumni choir – Weber State Alumni Singers.

I received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree from Weber State University in April of 2017. In the fall of 2018, on October 27th, I received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in recognition of exemplary service in the Art of Choral Music in the State of Utah. In March of 2019, I received the “Dean's Distinguished Service Award” in the college of Arts & Humanities.

My husband and I have raised four amazing children, three daughters and a son, who are all singers but have chosen other professions.