Orlando and NATS






Publication: Journal of Singing
Author: Simonson, Donald
Date published: March 1, 2012

ORLANDO. THE NAME ALONE brings images of delight to children of all ages. Legends abound regarding the source of the city's name. Was it taken from Orlando Reeves, a soldier who died in 1835 during the Second Seminole War? Or was it named after Orlando Savage Rees, a rancher originally from South Carolina? Others prefer the more recent story that the city was named after the character Orlando in William Shakespeare's As You Like It. Perhaps it was a lover of eighteenth century English opera and the town was an homage to G. F. Handel's opera seria by the same name. While the origins of the city's name remain in doubt, what is clear is that during the summer of 2012, Orlando will be a city of singing.

On Friday, June 29, 2012, NATS members from across the country and around the world will gather at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld for four days of inspirational workshops, master classes, lectures, panel discussions, breakout sessions, recitals, singing and learning, and camaraderie. Before the conference begins, your NATS Board of Directors will meet for two days to deal with the business of the Association. Then the real activity begins. In the days preceding the opening of the 52nd National Conference, the NATSAA Semifinals will be joined by the first ever NATS National Music Theater Competition Semifinals. On the morning of Friday, June 29, we will again offer two preconference workshops. Dr. Christopher Arneson will present a workshop designed to help you select appropriate repertoire for your students from a developmental perspective. The second workshop will feature Ryan Saab in the Ultimate Music Theater Audition Seminar. Ryan and a panel of experts will offer tips on how to prepare your students for university or professional music theater auditions. It will conclude with a series of mock auditions and feedback from the panel of Broadway experts.

The 52nd National Conference will begin Friday afternoon with the Opening Ceremony and the singing of our national anthems ("The Star Spangled Banner" and "O Canada") and, of course, "An die Musik." Our first master class will feature renowned soprano Jane Eaglen, who will also serve as one of the judges for the NATSAA Finals. Following a brief refreshment break, we'll change pace with a discussion on "Getting and Thriving and Surviving Your Theme Park Gig." The Grand Opening of Exhibits will occur at 5:30 pm and in keeping with tradition, the first day of the conference will close with the NATSAA Finals. You can count on a great start to our conference.

Saturday will start off with Robert Swedburg and a wake-up session on "Yoga for Performers." After a publisher's showcase you'll have to choose again between one of four breakout sessions. We had so many excellent proposals, and, with sufficient space, we decided to give you more options and increase the number of breakout sessions from fifteen to twenty. Saturday's plenary sessions will be given by the Yamaha Wellness Institute in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic. More publisher showcases will follow and after the afternoon plenary sessions, we'll have more breakout sessions. The day will close with the finals of the inaugural NATS National Music Theater Competition.

On Sunday you'll have the opportunity to start your day with Dr. Veera Asher in a "Pilates for Singers" session. Publisher showcases and breakout sessions will ensue, including the topics of male passaggio by Kenneth Bozeman and "Finding an Agent in Europe and/or America" by Robert Mirshak and Teresa Renick. Sunday's morning plenary session, "The Mindful Voice: The Cognitive Revolution," will be given by Lynn Helding and will expand upon her popular Journal of Singing series. Sunday afternoon will continue with our popular Stepping on Stage series, this time focusing on preparing for an oratorio audition. Breakout sessions on topics as widely ranging as copyright, cruise ship opportunities, and cross-training will finish off the afternoon. Sunday night will feature our renowned guest Nathan Gunn in recital.

On Monday morning you'll have to choose between either yoga or pilates. Showcases, breakouts, and plenary sessions will follow with a joint master class by both Nathan and Dr. Julie Gunn. Our 2010 NATSAA winner Thomas Florio will perform his winner's recital at 4:00 p.m., and, in true NATS fashion, we'll celebrate our time in Orlando with the traditional banquet and dance on Monday night. This year's featured speaker and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Florence Henderson will reminisce about her career and share some of her current and future initiatives. Food, fellowship, and fun will be our prime initiative for the night.

Our 52nd National Conference will close after the National Business Meeting and installation of new national officers on Tuesday morning with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne."

Whether your interests lie in opera, oratorio, song, popular, classical, music theater, CCM, pedagogy, performance practice, microphone technique, visualization technology, or any number of other topics, the 52nd NATS National Conference will have something for you. Come join your colleagues from June 29-July 3, and celebrate your joy of singing. Sing, listen, learn, and share. Come early and stay late. It will be a magical time in Orlando.

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