National Opera Association Member Newsletter
View this email in your browser

NOA Notes Newsletter
Vol. 42, No. 2
April 2019

In This Issue

From the President
From the President-Elect
From the Vice-President for Conferences
From the Vice-President for Regions
From the Finance Committee
Student Opportunities Committee
Salt Lake City Conference Session Reviews


2019 JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowship

April 15

  Jan 2020 Conference Sessions Proposals

June 1

From the President

Paul Houghtaling

Associate Professor of Voice
Director of Opera Theatre Director
The Druid City Opera Workshop
University of Alabama School of Music

This is the time of year when a lot of our students are looking to summer opportunities, Young Artist programs, graduate school, and other opera adventures which life in our field brings annually.  Just like the first spring buds on trees and flowers, opportunities in opera education and the excitement of that next step renew themselves each year.

Speaking of next steps, watch this publication as well as emails and the NOA Facebook page for news about Cleveland 2020!  Begin thinking about your session proposals—let us know about your research.  Share your ideas and your passion with NOA’s membership.  Also, remember the April 15 deadline for applications for the JoElyn Wakefield Wright Stage Director Fellowship

And finally, I hope you’re all aware of your state and regional activities and your local leadership.  If you don’t know who your state and regional governors are, or you would like to me more involved and connected closer to home, reach out to me or VP for Regions Dawn Neely.  And finally, remembers to Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Happy spring, everyone!


From the President-Elect

Benjamin Brecher

Professor of Music
The University of California Santa Barbara

Dear NOA Members,

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying early spring and many exciting projects.  The NOA Board is working hard behind the scenes to keep things moving forward with all our post Salt Lake City energy. The Cleveland Conference is already shaping up with a great venue and guests!  

In the coming months we have many deadlines for competitions and session proposals. We would love to have you share your ideas, scholarship, and research with us. Please look at the site and pay attention to those deadlines, as well as the production competition deadlines.

Finally, I want to make a plea to all of you. Invite a new member to NOA Cleveland!!  In Salt Lake City I was reminded that although we try to reach out to many colleagues, we still miss a few.  Hearing about first timers' overwhelmingly positive experiences in SLC was a cue for me to rev-up our outreach. 

All the best!


From the Vice-President for Conferences
Lisa Dawson

Professor of Voice
Indiana Wesleyan University


Opera Rocks!

…and NOA is going to rock downtown Cleveland, Ohio when we gather there for the 65th Conference in January 8-11, 2020!  

Scott Skiba is serving as our local host and has begun to prepare for some local flair for us to enjoy while we are there!  We are now accepting session proposals which are due by June 1, 2019. There are many ways in which you might participate so, check out the website: for information on proposal submissions, competitions, etc.

I can’t wait to rock Cleveland with YOU!


From the Vice-President for Regions

Dawn Neely

Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop
West Georgia University

Looking ahead, there are several regions that are planning events from one-day conferences to more local and regional events. I hope to have firm dates very soon, and we'll be flooding our social media pages to make sure you all know what's going on in each region! In the meantime,

I encourage everyone to get involved in your region! Regional participation is so important to recruit and retain our membership. If you have an ideas for an event, let your Regional and/or State Governor know! We're all so busy with our own schools, but it is incredibly rewarding to participate in our regional events. Remember how inspired you feel after our national conference?! We need that kind of inspiration more than just once a year!

Last year's regional events were amazing, and I look forward to announcing more great events and plans very soon!


From the Finance Committee

Carol Ann Modesitt, treasurer

Chair, Finance Committee and 2019 Annual Campaign
Cal-Western regional Governor

Music Department
Southern Utah University

From the Annual Campaign Finance Committee:

March definitely came in like a lion to Southern Utah - we had almost a foot of snow fall here in the middle of the month!  I am ready to see green instead of white snow.  For everyone, all over the country, I hope that spring will bring flowers and budding trees, and that all of you are safe.  It seems that the weather has been volatile all over the country in 2019.   I am looking forward to the spring as I am certain most of us are.

This reminds me that with all of the changes in tax laws it seems about the only thing we are allowed to deduct is charitable donations.  This reinforces the fact that NOA is a 501c3 organization, which means your donations to NOA are charitable deductions.  

Please remember that your dues cannot begin to fund all of the great programs and competitions that NOA sponsors.  It is the hope of the officers and board that our members will find it within their hearts and budgets to help support the organization as it tries to fund the needs of the directors, teachers, students, and singers who count on our organization and its special programs. 

For those of you who have made a donation to NOA this year, you have my heartfelt thanks.

Carol Ann

Student Opportunities Committee

The Student Opportunities Committee is working hard to bring new ideas to NOA!   In this article, committee member Joshua May shares his advice on obtaining funding to bringing students to the national conference.
Watch each edition of NOTES for more student-interest articles.

Mitra Sadeghopur, DM, chair

“Developing conference travel funding to support your students for professional development”

Joshua May, DMA
Assistant Professor of Voice & Opera Director
Schwob School of Music
Columbus State University
The National Opera Association’s annual conference provides a diverse experience for students through performance, research, and professional workshops. As you look forward to our next conference in Cleveland, OH, it is important to start considering how you can help your students find funding support to attend as an active participant. As faculty, it is important to create stepping stones toward professional careers in our art form through unique research and performance activities. Many universities have funding support for student travel to conference, professional development workshops, and faculty/student mentored activities. As a first step, I’ve included some easy searchable resources for you to explore at your universities to bring students to conference. You should consider how you can link pedagogy, performance, and student development within your courses toward next year to enhance their academic journey with the conference as a unique tool in the professional world. The conference provides a great showcase for your students and you to show how your collaborative projects in performance and research enhance the unique experience of each student toward a professional career.

NOA Student Conference Professional Experiences for undergraduate and graduate students:
Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition (annual)
                      *The vocal competition has scholarship opportunities for ages 18-24.
Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition (annual)
Scholarly Paper Competition (annual)
Dissertation Competition (biennial)
Call for Posters (annual)

You can use these competitions or activities to create a narrative from coursework/performance activities to present in meetings with your department chair, dean, provost, or foundation to connect with donors or administrators on campus that might support your student conference travel. You should show potential supporters how your innovative teaching, directing, research, and student activities can highlight your department/university’s goals for student success. As you begin to explore these possibilities, consider how your students are involved not only in your department/area, but across your university in student organizations, honor’s college, professional/social clubs, etc. These can provide travel funding for specials events, conference, professional development, etc. for students.
  1. Student Research and Creative Activity Travel Funding
    1. Annual funding in place to assist through Dean, Provost, Chair of Department, University
  2. Student performances at competitions
    1. Explore support for national student level of voice and opera scenes competitions through your department chair, voice/opera area coordinator, church/local non-profit arts organization
  3. Student Governments Funding for Clubs/Student Activities
    1. If your opera ensemble is registered as a student activity or club, you can have students apply for funding support from student government to attend these events to enhance students’ community performance activities. Students can start their own NOA Student Chapter on campus to bring special events to campus that they learn about from conference activities or create their own!
  4. Campus Activities Funds
    1. Create campus activities for interactive opera performances. You can ask your students to apply for campus activities funds to attend a workshop to help them learn about creating different activities for pop-up opera events like opera cabaret, student talent shows, non-profit activities, etc.
  5. Applying for Professional Development or Grant Funds for Research Presentations
    1. If you have undergraduate or graduate students that are assisting with research, you can add travel funding in your grant applications to present with your students at NOA regional and national conferences. This provides them professional engagement opportunities to learn in a mentored experience in poster, lecture, or paneled discussions on your research topic.
  6. Honors College Thesis Research Funding for Travel
    1. If your undergraduate students are part of the honor’s college at your university, you can have them request funding to travel for conference to expand their knowledge first hand through this conference to prepare their opera research, performance project, etc. They can meet specialists in their field through sessions, master classes, and more at conference. 
  7. Recital and Special Performance Fundraisers
    1. If your students want to attend the conference, you can help organize a recital to fundraise the needed travel expenses with local community partners. Many of our students are already hired as section leaders at churches, synagogues, and/or community choirs in your area. Many of these organizations have members that want to engage and support their students in recitals, opera performances, cabarets, etc. You can organize a short opera scenes program mixed with the repertoire for the semester. These programs enrich the lives of our community, while providing performance and professional development for our students.
  8. Crowdfunding
    1. If your ensemble or student is able to use Crowdfunding, you can use the recital model to link to a social media account to raise funding for students to participate in conference activities. They can put performances of scenes, arias, musical theater excerpts with a narrative about why they want to attend this conference for professional development. You should check with your department about these opportunities on-line.
  9. Teaching and Learning Center on Campus
    1. Contact your professional development coordinator or the teaching and learning center on your campus to discuss potential campus wide performance projects that your students could be a part of with their operatic programming for the year. How can you connect your course to another course to collaborate with a colleague in another discipline? These unique course offerings often provide funding for students to do research, attend conference, and create performances opportunities.
These are some of the quickest resources to connect funding to your students across the university. You should also reach out to other members that have brought students in the past few years to find out what unique offerings their universities may provide to support conference travel.

Salt Lake City Conference Session Reviews

A sampling of some of the sessions from the conference.
Look for more summaries in each issue of Notes!

Experiences of Faculty Members with Disabilities
Tina Holmes-Davis and Bonnie Von Hoff
Review by Reg Pittman

Faculty Members with disabilities experience challenges and triumphs in higher education today. Discussing current issues openly is paramount to promoting greater understanding and insight to ensure continued progress in academia as we continue to learn about the practices of faculty members with disabilities in higher education.
Tina and Bonnie shared their personal experience with disability.  They offered advice and suggestions for working with students who have disabilities. They covered topics such as “Why do I need to expand current teaching practices to accommodate students with disabilities,” “How do I accommodate students with disabilities in the class room and during opera rehearsals, “ “Do’s and Don’ts with the students, “ and Communication and Understanding the students.”

Staging Intimacy in the #MeToo Movement
Review by Philip Seward

This session was presented on Thursday morning as the NOA conference opened by Lauren Carlton, a third-year MFA Performance and Pedagogy student from Texas Tech University’s School of Theatre and Dance. She offered insightful ways of thinking about staging which provided a great deal of food for thought.  Lauren offered six essentials for directors to work through with the idea of having “a five-minute conversation on Monday morning that prevents a thirty-minute conversation on Friday.”  Along with each of her points, Ms. Carlton offered both examples and ‘non-examples’ which illustrating times when the point worked and time when it could have helped avoid certain situations that develop in production.

Musical Give and Take: How to Sing with a Conductor
Review by Linda LIster

In this discussion session on how to prepare to work with a conductor, Darryl Cooper wisely stated “There are no shortcuts to artistry.” Kristin Roach gave her helpful guidelines for singers which included: be prepared; ask questions; and have a fully formed opinion of your own but be ready to collaborate with the conductor. 

Inspiration and Expression: Using breath as a Primary Acting Tool for Connection to the Moment
Review by Paul Houghtaling
Under the “Educating for the Future” track of the Salt Lake City Convention, Dr. Samuel Mungo offered a very interesting and informative session.  In the energetic, well-paced session, Sam explained that the breathing mechanism is a balancing act between the physical demands of singing and the search for emotional realism in acting. The audience came away with a good understanding that breath, the intake of air, can be used effectively to create real emotion.  
Female Conductors and Directors and Their Paths to Careers in Opera
Beth Everett, Moderator
Panelists: Laurie Rogers, Elizabeth Kirkland, Ariana Wyatt
Review by Rachel Harris

Truly informative, excellent session.  I appreciated the stress on how to be good at your job, what to look for in a leader, and ways to counteract untruths regarding women in our profession. Also included were many mentorship stories and resources for women who are facing challenges as they proceed in their careers. Very well prepared and presented. Many thanks to this panel for their valuable insight.


National Opera Association

2020 Conference, Cleveland

January 8-11, 2020


NOA's Vision Statement:


NOA members are the Foundation Builders
for the future of opera.
Copyright © 2019 National Opera Association, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp