National Opera Association Member Newsletter
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NOA Notes Newsletter
Vol. 42, No. 5
November 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

Important Notice to Membership:
Nomination Slate for Officers and Board Election


2020 Cleveland Conference
Jan. 8-11, 2020

View the Schedule

Register Now

Register before December 1 to avoid late registration rates!

From the President

Paul Houghtaling

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


It seems like just yesterday that we were finishing up summer programs and I was wishing you all the best for the start of a new semester.  And here we are, nearly at the start of the holiday season.  Halloween is over and now the stores are stocked for Christmas which means our Cleveland conference is just around the corner.  So many officers and Committee Chairs and members have been working hard all year long to bring you another signature NOA event … an exciting exchange of ideas, new works for the stage, the sharing of research, unique opportunities for students, and the celebration of our craft and its future.

As I write this, competition results are being tallied for the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and the Vocal Competition, and the Opera Production Competition has just announced its 2018-2019 winners. Invitations are being extended to competition finalists and we look forward to applauding all involved in those endeavors.  And we’ll raise a glass to Howard Watkins and David Bamberger, and hear Libby Larsen talk about Dominick Argento.  We have so much to look forward to, including our day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Check out the conference schedule and make your plans to join us to celebrate opera in Cleveland! 

In the meantime, let’s give thanks for opera, and may we all smile at that operatic ornaments on our holiday trees (you know they’re there!!)

See you in a few short weeks.


From the President-Elect

Benjamin Brecher

Professor of Music
The University of California Santa Barbara

Dear Colleagues,

Midterms are over and winter seems upon many of you.  NOA has had a great fall with our Board working towards our national conference in Cleveland! Registration is open, and please plan on attending and possibly bringing a new colleague with you.

A "Bravi Tutti" to everyone who helped make the Texoma NOA Regional Conference a huge success. Special thanks to Barbara Hill Moore and Rebecca Renfro for making this an inspiring event.  It was great to see so many friends and meet new ones.  We have many regional events planned this year, and I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.

The personnel committee is excited to have a solid list of applicants for our Executive Director position.  We will keep you all posted with new developments.

See you all in Cleveland!!


From the Vice-President for Conferences
Lisa Dawson

Professor of Voice
Indiana Wesleyan University

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to Rock Cleveland, Ohio with some Opera!!


The stage is set, so if you have not done so yet, be sure to register for the 65th Annual Conference! Scott Skiba and friends are rolling out the red carpet for us and I want to say thanks, ahead of time, for all their work on our behalf.
The conference schedule is available on the website and by clicking here: 2020 NOA Conference Schedule  You will notice that several more meals are included in the conference as well as some off-site excursions. We will spend an evening of opera at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have the place all to ourselves to tour, share food and drink and enjoy this iconic space…Rock On!  The Music Box Dinner Club is super cool and I can’t wait to be transported to the jazz age as we see The Ghosts of Gatsby (the Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition Winner) in its entirety!
I look forward to gathering with our special guest and opera friends, old and new - so get yourself to Cleveland!



From the Vice-President for Regions

Dawn Neely

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

I am very Thankful to report that Regional events are going strong!  Texoma Region just finished a one-day conference in September, and we have several more events coming up in the spring.

But first, the National Conference! This is a great way to meet up with old and new friends in your region and talk with other regional members about what they are doing. There's no better place than the Regional Networking Lunch on Friday, January 10th
 at 12:30pm.

I hope to see you there! 


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:

Greetings from the Finance Committee!

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

Nomination Slate for Officers and Board Election

In accordance with the January 2019 changes to the NOA Bylaws, the Nominating Committee carefully considered all nomination suggestions received by March 15, both those received by from members in addition to their own recommendations brought forth as a Committee.  The Committee has selected the following slate of nominees for upcoming Officer and Board vacancies.

President - Benjamin Brecher
President-Elect - Lisa Dawson
VP for Conferences - Jess Munoz
Members of the Board: (3 vacancies to fill)
Minnita Daniel-Cox - Board Member
Susan Gonzalez - Board Member
Rebecca Renfro - Board Member
Marc Callahan - Board Member

The election will be held at the next Annual Meeting (January 2020 in Cleveland) and the membership will vote to fill the Officer vacancies and three open positions on the NOA Board of Directors.

Board nominiee biographies:
Susan Gonzalez began her career at the age of 8 as a professional actress on stage and screen. She has appeared in International festivals, concerts, and with major opera companies around the world. Her credits include a leading role in the BBC series, SAILOR, which was awarded Great Britain’s SUN AWARD for excellence. An EMMY award nomination followed for a television version of Il Barbierre di Siviglia featuring Susan as Rosina.  She sang Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Baroness von Freimann in Der Wildschütz, and Norina in Don Pasquale for a national tour with the National Opera Company. Susan went on to sing Violetta in La Traviata with Lyric Opera of Chicago at Grant Park, and New Orleans Opera, Adina in L’elixir d’amore for Chicago Opera Theater, and Lake George Opera Festival, Mimi in La Boheme at Dayton Opera, and many others.  Her international credits include debuts with the Bolshoi Opera at Cheboksary’s Pushkin Festival, Yoshkarola Opera Theater and Nishny Novgorod State Opera House singing leading roles in La Traviata, Eugene Onegin and Faust. Susan is currently the Director of the Hunter Opera Theatre at Hunter College in New York City producing and workshopping new operas.  She has directed works for D’ell Arte Opera Ensemble, New Jersey State Opera and Bronx Arts Ensemble. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Master and Doctorate degrees from Eastman School of Music. 
Rebecca L. Renfro is an Associate Professor at Sam Houston State University, where she holds the title of Director of Opera.  Dr. Renfro’s directing credits include productions for Greater Worcester Opera, Opera del West, University of Connecticut Opera Theater, Lone Star College, Lone Star Lyric Opera, and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.  Under Dr. Renfro’s leadership, SHSU Opera has garnered national recognition, having been selected as an NOA Opera Scenes Competition finalist from 2011-2018; winning second place in 2015 and 2018 in the NOA Music Theatre Division.  The ensemble was awarded an NOA Production Competition prize in 2012, and was honored with the American Prize in Collegiate Opera in both 2014 and 2015. SHSU Opera made its international debut in May of 2018 with a collaboration with Kobe College of Dido and Aeneas in Osaka, Japan. Dr. Renfro was selected as the 2012-2014 winner of the NOA Dissertation Competition, and has served as a State Governor for the NOA Texoma Region, as well as served as a member of the nominating board for NOA in 2018. She currently serves on the executive board of Greater Worcester Opera in Massachusetts, and was a founder of Opera del West, a regional opera company based in Natick, MA.  In addition to her work as a musician, Dr. Renfro holds a degree in accounting and worked as an accountant and auditor in the oil and gas industry for five years.
Dr. Marc Callahan holds degrees from Oberlin College, the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, the École Normale de Musique de Paris, and the Schola Cantorum. His operatic career has taken him around the world, performing at houses such as: The Royal Opera House, Opera North (UK), Santa Fe Opera, Théâtre des Champs Élysées, Théâtre du Capitole, Opéra National de Lyon, Opéra de Montpellier, Opéra Comique, Théâtre Royale de Versailles, and the Opéra de Marseille. He has recorded with Virgin Classics, FRA Musica, Passavant, Newport Classic, Editions d’Ambronay, and Radio France. Opera magazine has reviewed him as “a powerful baritone, providing wickedly glamorous tone.” As a director and designer, he has received critical acclaim for his production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, saying it was “designed and directed with jaw-dropping invention.” He has worked on productions at the Royal Opera House, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Holland Festival, Scottish Opera, Miami Music Festival, the New World Center, Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Théâtre du Capitole. Recent productions include: The Marriage of Figaro, Cendrillon, and The Blue Forest, Help, Help, the Globolinks!, Der Jasager, Lohengrin, Alcina, Die Walküre, and L’incoronazione di Poppea (“…devising a brilliant production of remarkable dramatic intimacy.”).
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Minnita Daniel-Cox attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance. Upon completion of her baccalaureate studies, she attended The University of Michigan where she received her both her Master of Music and her Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees. Most recently, Dr. Daniel-Cox performed an American Music Recital tour in Bulgaria and has been a featured soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Bach Society of Dayton. Two of her notable roles have been Sister Rose in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Anna Gomez in Menotti’s The Consul, both performed with Dayton Opera. She has appeared with the University of Dayton, Yellow Springs, Flint, Ann Arbor, and South Bend Symphony Orchestras as well as the Defiance and Packard Symphonic Bands. Her research regarding the musical settings of texts by poet and Dayton native, Paul Laurence Dunbar, led to her establishment of the Dunbar Music Archive. Dr. Daniel-Cox has a passion for teaching and has taught music courses or applied voice for programs at Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Bowling Green State University, and within the award-winning music program at Grosse Pointe South High School. After serving four years as Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Daniel-Cox is now Assistant Professor of Voice and Coordinator of the Voice Area at the University of Dayton where she teaches applied lessons, music courses, serves as Artistic Director of the yearly musical/opera productions, and coordinates the Vocal Performance Institute, a summer program for high school aged singers.


National Opera Association

2020 Conference, Cleveland

January 8-11, 2020


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NOA members are the Foundation Builders
for the future of opera.
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