Two Mississippi University for Women students advanced to the semifinal and final round at the Mississippi chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) annual conference and Student Auditions finals Feb. 23-34.

The conference took place at University of Mississippi in Oxford where more than 70 students from around the state competed in the Student Auditions, representing high schools, colleges, universities and independent music studios.

“I’m very happy for our W singers,” said Dr. Susan Hurley, associate professor of voice at The W. “They did excellent work and sang fine performances. This is the sixth semester in a row that our W vocal students have advanced in statewide or regional competition, which is a testament to the quality of music training they’re receiving here at The W.”

Jerry Brown, a music education major, won second place in Older Student Adults; and Tiffani Jernigan, a music performance major, advanced to the semifinals in Advanced Classical Trebles. Dr. William Reber, of the music faculty, accompanied the singers at the piano during each round of the competition. Both singers study voice with Hurley.

Students competed Friday afternoon in preliminary rounds that were adjudicated by panels of voice teachers. Each singer offered a list of three to four songs and/or arias. Singers with the highest scores in the preliminary round were named finalists on Friday evening. The final round took place Saturday morning in Nutt Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus. Each singer offered one piece in the finals and an awards ceremony took place immediately afterward.

At the finals, Brown performed “Minstrel Man” from the song cycle Three Dream Portraitsby Margaret Bonds.”

In addition to these student successes, Dr. Hurley was selected via peer review as one of five NATS member teachers to give a member presentation to conference attendees on Friday evening. Hurley performed a 30-minute lecture recital in which she introduced and contextualized the “AIDSQuilt Songbook”and performed four selections which represent a cross-section of literature from the Songbook project. Dr. Reber was the pianist for the lecture recital.

NATS is the largest professional association of singing teachers in the world. Founded in 1944, NATS members include faculty in higher education, elementary and secondary schools, and teachers at independent music studios. NATS offers workshops, intern programs, conferences and masterclasses that provide ongoing professional development to members worldwide.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.