Welcome to the NATS 52nd National Conference from NATS President, Donald Simonson

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Our 52nd National Conference is quickly approaching. Now is the time to mark your calendars, and start making plans to travel to Orlando to attend this gala event. Our conference will be hosted by the beautiful Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld. From June 29 through July 3, 2012, the Renaissance will be filled with beautiful singing, informative lectures, demonstrations, and master classes, and will serve as the backdrop for our celebration of all things singing. There will also be ample time to renew old friendships, make new ones, network, and even relax by the pool.

Cindy Dewey and her program committee have organized an exceptional conference. World renowned baritone Nathan Gunn, accompanied by Julie Gunn, will highlight the conference with both a recital and a joint master class. Many of you are familiar with his recordings, but just in case you need a reminder, check out any of his performances on YouTube.com. The Pearl Fishers Duet is particularly entertaining. The recital and all of the conference sessions will happen on-site. The facilities at the Renaissance have just been renovated and the conference space will give us all the room we need for plenary sessions, breakouts, poster papers and exhibits–all grouped in the same general area.

The conference will include all of our traditional activities and events. We’ll continue our “Stepping on Stage” series of master classes with panels discussing the preparation of singers for auditions in music theater and oratorio. Doctors from the Cleveland Clinic and Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute will present sessions on performance medicine and technology. Lynn Helding will discuss “The Singing Teacher in the Cognitive Revolution” in her “Mindful Voice” session. Since we’re in Orlando, we will also offer a panel discussion by industry professionals on theme park and cruise auditions and opportunities. Of course, the NATSAA Finals will occupy their traditional spot on Friday night, and our 2010 NATSAA winner Thomas Florio will present his recital on Monday, July 2.

A new addition to our conference schedule will be the rollout of our first ever NATS National Music Theater Competition. While the semifinals will occur prior to the opening of the conference, the final round is scheduled for Saturday night, June 30, 2012. Be certain to check the NATS website for all of the competition guidelines. In addition, there will be numerous breakout sessions with topics as varied as microphone techniques, the ages of the voice, visualization technology in the studio, and acting. Regardless of your teaching, singing, or research interests, there will be something exciting and informative for you to take home.

As a destination, Orlando can’t be beat. With its multiple theme parks, resorts and attractions, it is the perfect place for an enjoyable family-friendly vacation. Come early and/or stay late-you’ll find lots to do and fun for all. Because of our partnership with SeaWorld. you and your family will qualify for a “Length of Stay” ticket for all SeaWorld attractions. Pay once and go as often as you like.

So, come one, come all. Let’s meet in Orlando to celebrate the art of singing and to share our knowledge with each other. The more we work with each other to increase our collective knowledge, the better we can serve our students and enhance their experiences. I look forward to seeing all of you in Orlando.

Donald Simonson, NATS President