State Student Singing Competition Recently Held at Southeast



Oct. 31, 2008 – Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Music hosted the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Missouri District, student auditions on Oct. 24-25.  The event was held at the River Campus, home of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts.  Over 100 of the best singers from around the state participated, along with 25 voice teachers and 25 accompanists.  This is the first time this event has been hosted by Southeast.

The NATS student auditions is a three-round event in which all students perform three to four art songs and arias for a panel of three judges in the first round and receive written comments.  The singers compete in divisions, based on their age and level of study. 

After the first round, approximately two-thirds of the singers in each division advance to the semi-final round.  These singers again perform their literature for a different set of judges.  After the semi-final round, each division selects two honorable mention students and three top-ranked students.  The three students at the top of each division perform in the final round for first, second or third place honors.

Christopher Goeke, voice professor and chair of the Department of Music, is also currently serving a four-year term as the NATS Missouri Governor.

“It is quite a privilege for us to be able to host this event.   Southeast University has been participating in the NATS auditions throughout the Midwest since I began my career at Southeast 16 years ago, but we have not been able to host the event until our new River Campus facility opened,” Goeke said.

Eight different performance venues on the campus were used, including the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall, Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall, the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center, as well as several classrooms and the large ensemble rehearsal room. Approximately 15 colleges and universities from across Missouri participated in the auditions including: Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., University of Missouri Columbia, Mo., Truman State in Kirksville, Mo., University of Missouri at Kansas City and Webster University in St. Louis.

Southeast faculty say they were pleased that alumnus Neal E. Boyd was able to drop by just as the award ceremony was about to begin.  Boyd, the recent winner of the NBC hit series “America’s Got Talent,” stayed for the presentation of the awards and talked with many students after the event.  

“There was a nice ‘symmetry’ with his visit, as Neal did well at these competitions when he was a student at Southeast in the 1990s,” Goeke said.

This year, Ashley Schott, student of Lori Shaffer through the Southeast Missouri Music Academy, was the first place winner of the high school division and Jacob Alexander, student of Goeke, won second place in the freshmen-sophomore division.  Two other local students advanced to the semi-final round: Sarah Orlovsky, also a student of Goeke, and Laura Pace, student of Leslie Jones, associate professor of music at Southeast.  Other Southeast students who participated included: Kaylyn Kinder, Aaron Lerma, Hailey Maevers, Andrea McKay, Sean Montgomery and Justin Moore.