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Vocalists to sing in NATS national competition


Stephen Ash


Karon Chapa









Two UMHB vocal students were invited to compete in the semifinal round of National Association of Teachers of Singing’s (NATS) national competition to be held in mid-July in Chicago. Stephen Ash and Karon Chapa were listed among the top 14 college vocalists in the country in their respective categories, making them the first UMHB students in school’s history to be recognized with this honor.

To qualify for this level of competition, Ash and Chapa won the Texoma regional competition in their categories last fall.  Those victories made them eligible to submit a YouTube video of them performing. Those video submissions were then judged by a panel of national judges. Fourteen singers in each category, which are divided by gender and age, advanced to the semifinal round.

Another group of UMHB vocalists achieved recognition in April when they sang in the South Texas District NATS competition in San Antonio. Thirty-three singers from UMHB competed against singers of the same gender and length of study from colleges and universities throughout central and south Texas.  Twenty-six of the students were honored as semi-finalists in their divisions, and 18 went on to compete as finalists.  Six students ultimately won first place in their divisions:  Brittany Read, student of Penny Hogan; Tiffany Collazo, student of George Hogan; Matthew McKinnon and Gerald Nicholas, students of Guy Wilson; and Karon Chapa and Stephen Ash, students of Lisa Clement.  Gerald Nicholas also was recognized with the top award of the competition, the Alice Dutcher-Thornton Certificate of Honor, which is awarded to one upper division singer with outstanding performing career potential.