JU Students Place at NATS Conference

The Navigator

Ten Jacksonville University musical theatre students placed at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) regional conference. The singers competed against students from University of North Florida, University of Florida, Florida State College of Jacksonville, and other private voice students from nearby counties.

The students who were awarded are proud of their accomplishments.

Maggie Moore, a junior at JU, won first and third place in two different categories.

“It was truly an honor to win,” Moore said. “It especially meant a lot to me that I placed in upper women’s classical since my main study of focus is musical theater.”

NATS is the world’s largest association of teachers of singing and gives students the opportunity to compete nationally. The winners are eligible to contend in the Southeastern Region Student Auditions in Georgia in March.

Erick Crow, Junior at Jacksonville University, earned first place in the third year music theatre men category despite a peculiar distraction.

“During one of my pieces the fire alarm went off, but I didn’t stop singing,” Crow said. “I had to remain focused. You’ve always got to remain focused when you are performing.”

The participants truly valued the feedback from the judges.

“Getting feedback from people who are hearing your voice for the first time is the best learning tool you can get,” Crow said.

The students prepared for the conference by practicing for hours a day in addition to their private voice lessons. They were asked to sing five songs from various genres.

“In a contest you have to prepare what you are going to sing so you don’t look like an idiot,” Crow said. “It is a competition and everybody in every category is good.”

Jet Thomas, third place winner of the category of second year music theatre woman and sophomore at JU, said that the NATS conference is a really good opportunity to see where she stands in comparison to other girls her age from all over the state.

“I was certainly hoping to win but I didn’t think I was going to,” said Thomas via email exchange. “I didn’t get a chance to see any of the other girls sing so I didn’t know if they were all better than me!”

“Any chance to audition, perform or compete is a chance to grow because it lets you become more comfortable singing under pressure,“ Thomas said.

The students look forward to using the feedback to continue working toward furthering their musical careers.

“The feedback that I received from the judges is really helpful going into this next semester,” said Thomas. “I have the perspective of someone who isn’t my teacher, and it gives me new things to think about and work on. Winning third place will be a nice thing to have on my resume and it gives me some new perspective and the incentive to work even harder for next year.”