Allen Henderson executive director NATS headshot, Executive Director linkedin-logo-32.png

Allen Henderson holds degrees from Carson Newman College (BM), The University of Tennessee (MM) and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (DMA), where his minor was in Arts Administration and he was winner of the prestigious Corbett-Treigle Opera Competition.

Prior to his appointment as executive director in 2008, he served NATS as district and regional governor and was elected national secretary/treasurer from 2006-2008. He also served as interim executive director from 2007-2008. Henderson was a participant in the 1993 NATS Intern Program and later hosted the program in 1998. He was chair of the coordinating committee for the 2008 NATS 50th National Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Henderson has held teaching positions at Oklahoma Baptist University, Austin Peay State University and Georgia Southern University. In these positions he has taught voice, foreign language diction, opera, choral techniques, choral literature, song literature and directed choirs. He also served as music department chair at Austin Peay and Georgia Southern.

As baritone soloist, Henderson has appeared in concert, opera, and oratorio across the country. A district winner and regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera auditions, Henderson was winner of the 1995 National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Awards. He also was a regional finalist in the NATSAA competition.

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Association Notes, from NATS Executive Director Allen Henderson

Kelly BalmacedaKelly Balmaceda, Director of Events and Programs

Kelly Balmaceda joined the National Association of Teachers of Singing executive staff as the director of events and programs in June 2023. In her role with NATS, Balmaceda coordinates all events and most programming for the association. No matter the setting or venue, she ensures that NATS produces the highest quality offerings for its members and attendees.

An enterprising artist, Balmaceda has created and performed music in a variety of venues, both traditional and outside of the box. Life on the road, as a military spouse, has catapulted her success not only as a performer but also as an entrepreneur and educator.

Her creative prowess shines through in her entrepreneurial ventures. She is the founder and director of MUSIC off MAIN, a venue for professional productions and music education, including her self-developed mini MAESTROS, a music program for infants and toddlers, The Albemarle Youth Choir, and co- founder of the CANTARE Workshop. She is the founder of the former Sparkling City Light Opera in Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as concert series around the country. She is an avid promoter and performer of new music, and she works closely in collaboration with award-winning composer, Amy Scurria. In their recent collaboration, Balmaceda made her debut as Alice, librettist, dramaturg, and producer in ALICE, An Operatic Wonderland, which receive its festival and collegiate premiere in summer 2023 and spring 2024, respectively.  

Other career highlights include working as a teaching artist with the Metropolitan Opera Guild and Boston Lyric Opera, performances with San Antonio Opera, Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, Houston Choral Artists, the Corpus Christi Chorale, Collective Euphonia (founding member), and the Chesapeake Orchestra. She is an avid recitalist and has served as a cantor/soloist at cathedrals and Catholic churches around the country.

Balmaceda is constantly striving to engage and inspire not only the next generation of artists but also audiences of every age and demographic through educational outreach and accessible performances. She has served on faculties at University of Tampa, Georgia Southern University, and Saint Joseph’s College. Her students have been accepted into top conservatories and universities, performed on national tours, young artist programs, regional/professional operatic and theater productions, and have won numerous competitions. She has been an active member and participant in NATS as both a teacher and student, most recently serving as the secretary for the Tampa Bay NATS Chapter. She also was a national finalist in the NATS Artist Awards (NATSAA) competition. She received a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from New England Conservatory and a master’s degree in vocal performance from University of Houston.

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Jen Jimenez, Development Director Jen Jimenez

Jen Jimenez is a seasoned professional with more than two decades of experience in development and fundraising across a variety of nonprofit organizations. With a passion for connecting individuals with meaningful philanthropic endeavors, Jimenez has consistently surpassed fundraising goals in annual giving, major gifts, and planned giving initiatives. Her expertise lies in crafting targeted solicitation strategies, fostering donor engagement, and diversifying prospect portfolios through genuine relationship building and innovative digital campaigns.

Her frontline fundraising highlights include serving higher education institutions such as Shenandoah University and Muhlenberg College. Most recently, she served as Director of Institutional Advancement for The Winston School of Short Hills. A veteran of three capital campaigns, Jimenez specializes in growing development departments by setting ambitious goals and devising creative pathways to exceed them.

In addition to her fundraising prowess, Jimenez is also a classically trained mezzo-soprano, holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre degree from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. Before delving into nonprofit development, she was the owner of Encore Music Studio and Dramatic Arts, teaching more than 50 voice students a week and overseeing a team of instructors in the disciplines of piano, guitar, violin and acting.

During her tenure, Jimenez established Encore as a premiere place of learning — hiring only degreed faculty, creating vocal and instrumental juries for continued student/teacher evaluation, and providing unique performance opportunities for her students.

Jimenez’s love for performance, instilled from a young age, has seen her grace stages nationwide in acclaimed musical theatre productions. Memorable roles include Polly in Crazy For You, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, Emma in Jekyll & Hyde, and Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, to name a few. In television, she has been featured in several commercials and was one of three women chosen to be featured in a Macy’s national campaign, as well as hosting the National Rite Aid Corp. training video.

When she is not singing, Jimenez enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, and their fur baby, Maica.

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, Marketing and Communications Managerheadshots/Beth_Buchanan_250x250.png

Beth Buchanan joined the NATS staff as marketing and communications manager in October 2020. She has more than a decade of experience in marketing and public relations, and has worked for a variety of nonprofits and advertising/PR agencies. Most recently she served as communications manager for the Kansas City Symphony, where she was responsible for writing, editing, project management and media relations. During her time there she helped promote more than 100 concerts each season along with major events including Celebration at the Station, the largest Memorial Day festival in the Midwest with 50,000 people, and a Guinness World Record Title for the largest tuba ensemble with more than 800 tubas and euphoniums.

Buchanan holds bachelor’s degrees in mass communications and music from Kansas State University. She enjoys coffee, playing the piano, cooking and traveling. She currently resides in Savannah, Georgia.

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Amandia Carnahan, Membership Services Coordinator

Amandia Carnahan comes to NATS with more than 14 years’ experience in the nonprofit world, and has held positions from public relations to program management. Organizations she has worked for have ranged from those serving children and veterans, to those serving nuclear medicine specialists.

Most recently, Carnahan worked as the community outreach and volunteer coordinator for a national veterans’ service organization where she worked to strengthen the chapters and increase awareness of the organization. Amandia began working for NATS in November 2018. As membership services coordinator, her role is to listen to the membership and ensure that NATS is meeting the needs of its members.

Originally from Mississippi, Carnahan has lived in Louisiana, Georgia and Washington, D.C. She has lived in Florida for ten years with her husband. They have two children and are foster parents to many more. When not at the baseball field watching their kids play little league, the family enjoys going to Mickler’s Beach and watching SpaceX rockets launch. (Despite the unusual spelling, Amandia pronounces her name as “Amanda.”)

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headshots/Mark_McQuade_250x250.png, Competitions and Auditions Coordinator

Dr. Mark McQuade has been incredibly active in NATS throughout the country having been a member of three different regions. He has served as Texoma region governor, Oklahoma district governor, North Dakota district governor and auditions chair, and Georgia chapter webmaster. His research has also been published in Journal of Singing. McQuade began his role as NATS competitions and auditions coordinator in November 2018.

In addition to his work with NATS, McQuade is the Director of Drama at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, GA.  Prior to making the move to secondary education, he was a tenured associate professor of voice at Valdosta State University, where he served as the voice area chair, taught private voice and vocal pedagogy. McQuade has also served as associate professor of voice at Minot State University (2015-2017) and assistant professor of voice at Oklahoma Baptist University (2006-2015).  His voice students have been featured in principal and supporting roles with university, community, and professional opera and musical theater companies, and they are regular winners, finalists, and semi-finalists at state, regional, and national voice competitions.  McQuade still maintains a private voice studio through the Valdosta Academy of Performing Arts (VAPA).  Along with his deep-rooted passion for teaching and the art of singing, he brings nearly 20 years of experience as a performer and director of opera. As a performer, McQuade has appeared in opera, musical theater, concert, and recitals throughout the United States and Canada.  He led the opera programs at OBU and MSU, and from 2015-2017 he also served as the general director of the Western Plains Opera Company. He holds degrees in vocal performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Oklahoma, and a doctorate in vocal pedagogy and performance from the University of Mississippi.

, Bookkeeper/Executive AssistantJennifer Prok headshot

Jennifer Prok joined the NATS executive office in June 2020. As the NATS bookkeeper/executive assistant, she is responsible for reporting the financial activity for the organization. Previously, she has held positions as a full charge bookkeeper and an office manager for many professional businesses in the Jacksonville area. She has 32 years of experience in general accounting, human resources and customer relations in the corporate and finance industry. Jennifer offers a diverse range skills, expertise and experience that will be beneficial in her role here at NATS. 

In her free time, Jennifer is actively involved in animal welfare and volunteers her time for the health and wellbeing of cats and dogs in the Duval and Nassau county of Florida.

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Tina Hooks headshot, Office Manager

Tina Hooks joined the NATS Executive Office in June 2015. Before being appointed office manager in 2019, she served as administrative assistant for the Association. Hooks brings to NATS more than 15 years of professional administrative, organization, accounting, event planning and customer service skills.

Before joining NATS, Hooks spent the last 12 years with the Clay County School Board, beginning as a full-time classroom and school volunteer when her twin daughters started kindergarten. She then became a full-time substitute teacher for grades K-6 until she was offered a position as a classroom assistant and later promoted to the school secretary position. As secretary, she was responsible for maintaining an office with 80 teachers and staff and 650 students. In addition to running a busy office, Hooks was head of hospitality for the school and was nominated by her peers twice as Employee of the Year, one year becoming a district finalist.

Before employment with the Clay County School Board, Hooks was an assistant to the CFO for Industrial Water Services where she was responsible for accounting, payroll, insurance and human resources. She then took a brief leave of work when her family moved to Gainesville, Florida, and she chose to be a stay-at-home mom for a few years.

Hooks enjoys spending time with her husband of 24 years, Tim, their three children - Erin, Lindsey and Hayden - and the family labs, Knox and Lew. When she is not traveling with their son's baseball team, she and the family try to enjoy time together camping, playing golf and watching college football.

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Heather Carraway headshot, Administrative Associate

Heather Carraway is a skilled and valuable contributor in the day-to-day operations of the NATS executive office. She has a wealth of professional experience with a background spanning customer service, retail management, office clerical work, and sales. Starting as a temporary part-time staff member in March 2018, Carraway’s dedication, attention to detail, and hard work earned her a promotion to full-time administrative associate in 2021. 

Originally from Tennessee, Carraway has called Jacksonville home since 2000, where she resides with her husband and two children. Beyond her professional achievements, she is a devoted mother who actively engages with her children's school band program, volunteering at their events and competitions.

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, Special Events Assistant

Mandy Ruddock headshotMandy Ruddock joined the NATS office as a part-time clerical assistant in 2002, working wherever extra help was needed during the busy season. Ruddock currently serves as the special events assistant and helps with planning/coordinating national conferences and Board meetings. She is experienced in retail management and event planning. Ruddock, a native of Florida, is married and enjoys going to NASCAR races.

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