Torin Chiles

Vice President for Membership

headshots/Torin_Chiles_002_.jpg"I have been a proud and active NATS Member since 1999. My earliest awareness of the Association came when I was a graduate student in 1992, and the relatively newly minted NATS Ontario Chapter hosted the National Convention in Toronto, Ontario. I was completing my graduate work at McGill in Montreal and came to Toronto as one of the many student volunteers. It was a huge endeavor for such a new chapter and there was the exciting energy of feeling that NATS was a growing international Association. I was one of many enthusiastic students working to help establish the Canadian connection with NATS and working to make the convention a success. I remember being impressed with the professionalism of NATS – here was an organization dedicated to the art AND the science of singing, to professionalism, to collegiality and to professional development. I was hooked.

"After graduate studies, I worked as a freelance lyric tenor for a decade and then, as family life called, I transitioned to mix of performing and teaching in 1999 when I began teaching at Western University, Canada in London, Ontario. My transition to part-time academia and then to a full-time position in 2004 meant that I could participate much more fully as a NATS member. I contributed by serving on the Executive for NATS Ontario, following in the footsteps of those pedagogues who had so inspired me as a student. I served as the Chapter President for two terms and as the District Governor for two terms. Along the way, I have served on a national President’s Strategic Planning Advisory committee and have served as a board member on the NATS Foundation since 2015. I continue to be active at the chapter level and have attended most of the National Conferences since joining NATS. I have been nurtured by the relationships I have forged through NATS. I have learned about my profession and honed the skills to be a competent and caring teacher and administrator. I have had many exemplars in NATS – teachers and colleagues that I have admired for their skill and knowledge, their artistry, professionalism and their humanity. I strive to live up to their example.

"Currently, I serve as the Voice Division Coordinator at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University Canada. I teach voice and both the undergraduate and graduate level Voice Pedagogy courses. Wonderful colleagues and wonderful students make this work very enjoyable indeed! I also serve as a Director of Music at New St, James Presbyterian Church in downtown London, Ontario where I lead the choir and play the magnificent Casavant pipe organ. When not in the studio or on the organ bench I can likely be found in my garage, tinkering on my model railroad empire."

Vision Statement for NATS VP for Membership nomination

"I think our NATS forbears had a truly visionary idea as Chapters started to be established in Canada. Instead of doing the obvious, by creating Regions following an east-west configuration north of the border, our forebears saw that there is value in thinking across the national border and creating several Regions that have both American and Canadian Districts and Chapters. This allows the very widely spread Canadian Chapters to be much nearer geographically to a larger center of colleagues and therefore able to be more connected for workshops and auditions and all the Regional activities of NATS. I think our association is made stronger by this international integration at the Regional level. In a post 9/11 world, this arrangement is not as simple as it once was, and I want to help to keep this international Regional integration working well in NATS. Smaller more isolated Chapters can be strengthened by contact and encouragement and larger Canadian Chapters need their concerns represented at the board level as they grow and as complex Association procedures are streamlined to the benefit of all our members.

"Fostering growth in our membership at all levels and Regions is important to me. It means that we bring our core values as a professional organization to more colleagues across the continent; it means we spread proven best practices and standards to more voice teachers and voice professionals, serving our art and students. I believe strongly in the role of NATS to support the vocal arts through fostering professionalism and professional development and the vibrant forum for colleagues to learn from each other through the easy conversation that I hear bursting forth at each NATS event I attend.

"If I am elected to serve as VP for Membership, I hope to follow the vision of a strong NATS through fostering the strong north-south Regional structures our forebears envisioned. Further, I will work to realize that vision more broadly as we carry the NATS banner of integrity, professional development, and support for the vocal arts across the continent and to the world."