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Students Earn Top Marks at National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition

Alex and Mark pose for a picture before one of Alex's performances

Four Belmont students recently competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) semifinals, the most students Belmont has ever had to make it to this level of NATS competition and one student, Alex Wunder, won first place in his division, underclassmen men. In addition to Wunder, Belmont’s participants included Nick Branson, Melissa Starkweather and Jeff Tarver. To reach the semifinals, these students participated in the organization’s regional auditions which were hosted on Belmont’s campus in the spring.

Each region’s top five finalists then send performance videos to NATS for national semifinals consideration. Videos are then evaluated by voice teachers across the country, and only the top 15 are invited to the semifinals.

Participating students pose for the camera

Semi-finalists (L to R) Tarver, Starkweather and Branson enjoying beautiful downtown Boulder

At the event, singers perform a variety of repertoire pieces consisting of operatic arias, art songs or oratorio arias. After performing in the semifinals, Wunder was selected to competed in the finals and won first place in his division. This is the first time in four years that Belmont has had a first place winner.

Coordinator of Vocal Studies and Associate Professor of Voice Dr. Mark Whatley said, “This is a wonderful accomplishment for our students to have earned. They all gained valuable experience by auditioning and spending time in a competitive environment outside of Belmont. This also provides an opportunity to meet teachers and students from all across the country, making those all-important connections that are so critical to having a career in music.”

Above image (L to R): Wunder and Whatley