History of NATS

The 1960s

President B. Fred Wise 1960-1962

  • B_Fred_Wise.jpgACOVE started the “Quiz Cove” column in TheBulletin, a column devoted to answering reader submitted questions.
  • Research committee reported the release of William Vennard’s forty-two minute sound film “The Vibrating Larynx” with Janwillem van den Berg.
  • 173 persons were granted founders Fellow status in the AIVP Fellowship Program.
  • The office of Historian was proposed at the 1961 convention.
  • A proposal to reorganize NATS into 13 regions was sent to a committee for study.

President Louis Nicholas 1962-1964

  • Louis_NicholasPHOTO.jpgTheBulletinbecame The NATS Bulletin with the first issue of 1963.
  • NATS Dues were raised from $6 to $8, the first increase in 14 years.
  • A Committee on Gifts and Bequests was formed to study the acceptance of gifts and building of an endowment.
  • President Nicholas appointed a committee to formulate an “affiliate member” category of membership.
  • A Committee on Stimulation of Government Interest in the Arts formed.
  • Marilyn Horne and Mary Costa performed at the 1962 Los Angeles Convention and Robert Hale was the winner of SOTY.
  • A Council of Past Presidents was formed for advisory capacity.
  • A bylaws revision was approved to limit Vice-presidential tenure to no more than two terms of 2 years each. With this revision, term limits were in effect for all national offices.

President William Vennard 1964-1966

  • William_Vennard.jpgThe Affiliate Member category was created in 1965.
  • After a careful and detailed appraisal of each chapter by Vice-president Weldon Whitlock, charters were withdrawn from several chapters due to inactivity and failure to submit reports. This study also revealed that the most progressive chapters were those that were having the most meeting.
  • AIVP (American Institute of Vocal Pedagogy) name was changed to “The Fellowship Program” in NATS.
  • The Committee on Government Interest in the Arts was Involved in supporting legislation signed by President Lyndon Johnson creating a National Council on the Arts. The act called for the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). 
  • NATS members were listed among significant contributors to sessions at both MENC and MTNA conventions across the country.
  • An Emeritus membership category was proposed by Louis Nicolas and approved by the membership.
  • The 1965 Chicago Convention produced record attendance of 378.

President Philip A. Duey 1966-1968

  • Philip_A_Duey.jpgCanadian members became eligible to hold office with full membership.
  • Membership broke the 2,000 barrier for the first time in 1966 with a total of 2021 members and 78 affiliate members.
  • The 1966 workshop at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC was the first NATS workshop held outside the US and the first held at a hotel rather than on a university campus.
  • The 1966 Convention in Washington, DC was themed “The Necessity for Government Participation in the Arts”
  • Dues were increased to $12 for members and $9 for affiliate members.
  • In 1968, regional governors sat in on Board meeting for the first time, but had no vote.
  • An enabling amendment to the Bylaws was overwhelmingly approved empowering future presidents to employ an executive secretary. A significant step in the maturity of NATS.

President R. Berton Coffin 1968-1970

  • Berton_Coffin.jpgIn January, 1968, a national office was established in the Fisk Building 250 West 57th Street in New York City. Dodie Lefebre was engaged as executive secretary on a half-time basis. In October, 1968, she was replaced by Mrs. Clyde Keutzer on an interim basis until Martha Moore Smith was hired as executive secretary in December.
  • A lawyer was retained to establish the structure for a foundation so that NATS could raise funds through gifts and bequests.
  • In 1968 the title of SOTY was changed to NATS Artist Awards (NATSAA).
  • A 10-page 107-question national survey was prepared by President Coffin and sent to all members with a 32% return rate. The results led to the restructuring and expansion of the committee structure. A Council on Research with 15 committees was established.
  • Inter Noswas established and the first edition published in 1969.
  • NATS Silver Anniversary Convention held in Portland, Oregon.
  • The NATS Fellowship program is eliminated in favor of MTNA certification for NATS teacherswhithout degrees.