In its best-ever showing at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Auditions (NATS), the U of G music program saw 14 of its students advance to the competition’s semifinals, making U of G one of the most decorated post-secondary institutions.

Congratulations to the College of Arts students who brought home multiple first, second and third-place awards competing in commercial music and musical theatre categories.

In the competition hosted at Western University, music majors and minors from first to fourth year competed against 150 entries from the Great Lakes Region. Some even performed original works composed as part of their studies.

“That is such a huge win and so exciting when students feel confident in themselves to do that,” said Samuel-Stevens, adjunct professor of voice performance who accompanied the students to the competition.

“I really view my job as a voice teacher to help every singer find their own individual voice and artistry and figure out who they want to be as a creator,” Samuel-Stevens says.

U of G’s unique approach to music embraces the contemporary

A person in white sleeves and a blue vest with a long brown braid stands at a microphone coached by a person with curly, brown hair wearing a black top with flowers and black pants.
Marion Samuel-Stevens works on vocal technique with a student in the College of Arts

The incredible success of these fourteen students at NATS speaks to the strength of U of G’s music program. Recently the curriculum has embraced contemporary music theory, a unique facet of the program.

“Marion Samuel-Stevens is a phenomenal vocal educator who takes students’ potential and turns it into something breathtaking,” says Dr. Kimberly Francis, professor of music and director of interdisciplinary programs in the College of Arts. “U of G’s program offers something special to anyone looking to develop their creative craft, and we could not be prouder of our vocal studio.

“We are so proud of our students, who graduate ready to work in today’s industry, singers who have a strong command of technique, expression, and personal artistry,” Francis adds.

The National Association of Teachers of Singing is an American organization with chapters across the country as well as in Ontario. Through conferences, workshops, master classes and competitions, NATS’ mission is to advance excellence in singing through teaching, performance, scholarship and research.

The 14 qualifying students will next compete in the semifinals for a chance to go on to the finals this summer in Knoxville, Tennessee.