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Area students compete at regional vocal competition in Illinois

Waldorf College
Directed by Waldorf’s Adjunct Instructor of Music Sarah Luebke, nine area students from Waldorf College, North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City High School, and Garner-Hayfield Ventura High School recently traveled to Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., to compete at the Central Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition.

Over 550 students from Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri participated in the Central Regional competition held Nov. 15-16. Students ranging in ages from 14 to 30 auditioned for the opportunity to advance to the national level of the NATS contest.

Waldorf’s Associate Professor of Music Dr. Kristín Jónína Taylor served as the students’ collaborative pianist for all levels of the competition. “The students have been preparing since August,” explained Luebke.

“Preparing for a voice competition is a lot like preparing for a wedding,” she added. “In the beginning there are a lot of logistics, and as the work continues, students find a personal connection to the text and music.”

“While this is a long process, the NATS auditions give students a sense of how much work it takes to produce a quality performance,” said Luebke. “But by the time of the performance, they can enjoy themselves and the audience and really connect with the emotions they are communicating.”

Students participating in the competition included:
Cassidy Atchison of Allen, Texas – Waldorf College
Kevin Ansel of Kanawha, Iowa – Waldorf College
Brittany Banks of Sioux City, Iowa – Waldorf College
Bailey Gare of Montgomery, Minn. – Waldorf College
Caitlin Golle of Nora Springs, Iowa – North Iowa Area Community College
Emily Overy of Manly, Iowa – Mason City High School
Jonathan Overy of Manly, Iowa – Waldorf College
Trevor Rayhons of Garner, Iowa – Garner-Hayfield Ventura High School
Haley Rubin of Brandon, S.D. – Waldorf College

Cassidy Atchison, Brittany Banks, Emily Overy, Trevor Rayhons, and Haley Rubin advanced to the semi-final round of the competition.

“At the semi-final round, three judges give comments to each performer,” explained Luebke. “The top three singers move to the next round, with honorable mention awarded to the fourth place winner from each division.”

Rayhons, a baritone and senior at Garner-Hayfield Ventura High School, was awarded first place for his performance of “Die Post” from Franz Schubert’s Winterreise in the High School Junior/Senior Men’s Division. He will have an opportunity to audition for the National NATS Competition held next July in Boston, Mass.

For her performance of “Shy” from Once Upon a Mattress and “Come to your Senses” from Tick, Tick… Boom!, mezzo-soprano and Waldorf junior Atchison was awarded honorable mention.

The National Association of Teachers of Singing is the largest professional association of vocal instructors in the world according to the organization’s website. Founded in 1944, the association seeks to encourage vocal art and ethical principles in the teaching of singing, as well as promote vocal education and research at all levels. 

Learn more about NATS at Visit to learn more about Waldorf's music program.