The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) has named Norman Spivey and Amy Canchola as the 2023 Clifton Ware Group-Voice Pedagogy Award recipients.
Spivey currently is professor of voice and voice pedagogy at Penn State University, and he is a NATS past president. Canchola is an independent teacher at Canchola Studio of Voice. Spivey will receive a $600 award and Canchola will receive a $400 award to go toward their group-voice projects or studios.
Professor Emeritus (voice, voice pedagogy) of University of Minnesota Twin Cities and long-time NATS member Clifton Ware established this award in 2022 with a generous gift to NATS.
Ware designed the award to highlight the concept of class voice and its potential impact for singers through offerings in community, independent and academic settings. To be eligible, applicants must be active NATS members who want to advance the idea of learning to sing together in a group-instructional setting — formal class offerings, studio class settings, workshops, and other innovation ways.
Both 2023 recipients currently include group-voice instruction in their teaching practices and are eager to continue to build on their successes.
In the true spirit of collaboration, Spivey was quick to acknowledge his colleague and fellow NATS member Jennifer Trost who works in tandem with him on their group-voice class.
“We’re delighted to have been selected this year for the Clifton Ware Group-Voice Pedagogy Award,” said Spivey, who will share the limelight with his colleague Trost. “Seeing one of our alums, Amelia Rollings Bigler, receive the award last year was quite wonderful — and a huge thank you goes to Clif who has created an annual prize that will benefit so many students and teachers.”
The Penn State colleagues will use their award to invest in class materials, such as anthologies and pedagogical tools, to enhance the quality of the class voice experience, and to offset expenses for collaborative pianists.
“We have a long history of class voice at Penn State,” Spivey explained. “Several years ago, with the support of the music education faculty, we fully updated the curriculum and added team-teaching to the class voice experience. I partner with my colleague Jennifer Trost and all of our graduate voice teaching assistants. We have the enviable opportunity to learn from the teaching of each other, and also the luxury of being able to split the class into breakout rooms to work in smaller sections. It has proven to be an excellent model — one of shared trust and building community. Thanks again to Clif for his visionary support of this award.”
Canchola is enthusiastic about the honor, and she plans to build upon her group-voice offerings at her studio.
“I am truly grateful to be selected as a recipient of a Clifton Ware Group-Voice Pedagogy Award,” Canchola said. “Dr. Ware’s pedagogy texts have been part of my training since undergraduate school, and I have been an advocate of group voice for some time. Thus, receiving an award named in his honor feels like a momentous occasion in my career.”
This is not the first NATS award for Canchola. Last year, she received a 2022 Joan Frey Boytim Award for Independent Teachers to go toward NATS national conference expenses.
“Additionally, having NATS recognize and support an independent studio owner like myself holds tremendous significance,” Canchola added. “I plan to continue growing the number of group-voice lessons and classes that I offer in my independent studio in order to promote more studio camaraderie, enhance student learning, accommodate more students, and make studying voice more accessible for underrepresented populations. I appreciate the opportunity to continue my study of group-voice pedagogy and thank NATS and Dr. Ware for making it possible.”
About Norman Spivey
Norman Spivey is professor of voice and voice pedagogy at Penn State. An active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, he has served at every level, from chapter officer to national president. He participated in the NATS Intern Program as intern, local coordinator, master teacher, and national director, and his writings on teacher development and musical theatre singing have appeared in the Journal of Singing. He was awarded the 2003 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship by NATS and The Voice Foundation and the 2012 Penn State College of Arts and Architecture Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching. With longtime collaborator Mary Saunders Barton, he co-wrote “Cross-Training in the Voice Studio: A Balancing Act” (Plural Publishing 2018). In 2011, he was invited to join the distinguished American Academy of Teachers of Singing.
About Jennifer Trost
Jennifer Trost had a 15-year solo career as an operatic soprano, the majority of which was in Germany including four years at the Wuppertal Opera and nine years at the Bavarian State Opera. She also has performed as a guest artist at the Salzburg Music Festival, the Komische Oper in Berlin, the Opéra de Paris Garnier, the BBC Proms in London, the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, the Munich Radio Orchestra, and the Munich Philharmonic.
She taught three years at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich and one year as a visiting associate professor of voice at the University of California-Santa Barbara. She is currently professor of music at the Pennsylvania State University, where she teaches voice, as well as the song literature and opera literature courses.
About Amy Canchola
Dr. Amy Canchola holds a doctorate in vocal performance (DMA) from the University of North Texas, a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University, and a bachelor’s degree in music from Butler University. She has performed opera and musical theatre throughout the country and has sung at Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, the Bach-Millennium Festival, and the National NATS Conference. Canchola strives to promote the music of Latina women and Mexican composers. She is a member of Duo Atesorado and Duo Floreciente. Canchola prides herself on being a champion for the student. Canchola’s students are members of the TMEA All-State choir, NATS Winners, active performers, and often pre-collegiate track singers. When she isn't teaching, Canchola can be found spending time with her husband and children or rehearsing with her duo, Duo Atesorado. She and her husband, Gil, have four children and own Canchola Handyman Services. Read more at amycanchola.com.