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Texoma NATS Spotlights OCU Alumna, Students, Faculty
More than 1,000 voice teachers and students from three states attended Oklahoma City University’s first hosting of the annual regional conference for the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Nov. 5-8. More than two dozen students from OCU’s Bass School of Music advanced to the semifinal round of NATS student auditions, including members of the voice studios of Florence Birdwell, William Christensen, Brenda Holleman, Larry Keller, Vicky Kelly, Frank Ragsdale, Catherine McDaniel, and Rebecca Salter. Five were finalists: Christensen students Courtney Longcrier, second place, advanced women and Jeffrey Gates, third place, junior men; Holleman students Desiree Dillon, second place, junior women and Kaitlyn Stobbe, second place, freshman women; and Ragsdale student Liz Lang, fifth place, freshman women. Ragsdale seved as the conference’s official host, assisted by fellow members of the Bass School voice faculty. OCU artists were featured prominently in this year’s Texoma NATS highlights. Alumna soprano Marquita Lister headlined as featured artist with Jan McDaniel at the piano. Her program of works by American composers included the song cycle “Life Is Fine” by Edward Knight, Bass School composer-in-residence. Other highlights included Friday’s performance by OCU’s Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company of Puccini’s “La rondine,” directed by David Herendeen and conducted by Jan McDaniel. Earlier that day, voice faculty member Catherine McDaniel, mezzo-soprano, performed Knight’s newest song cycle, Tales Not Told, with poetry by M. J. Alexander. Jan McDaniel accompanied and provided historical context for the cycle. Featured master classes were led by the Bass School’s Florence Birdwell, assisted by Herendeen and McDaniel, and by Lister, one of OCU’s distinguished alumni of 2008. The Texoma Region is the nation’s fifth-largest NATS region in the country by membership, comprising the states of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.