National Opera Association Member Newsletter
David Holley, editor
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NOA Notes Newsletter

Vol. 44, No. 3
August 2021

In This Issue

2022 National Conference
From the President
From the President-Elect
From the Vice-President for Conferences
From the Vice-President for Regions
From the Finance Committee
Slate of 2022 NOA Board Officers and Directors
The Argento Fellowships
Second Nature YPO review

Opportunities / Deadlines

Deadline for all: October 15

Save the Date: 2022 National Conference

St. Augustine: “Exploration and Discovery”

NOA's 67th Annual National Conference will be held at the World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine Resort, January 5-8, 2022.  View the conference schedule, registration, and travel and lodging information.

Whether dipping your toe or diving right in, NOA’s warm waters on Florida’s subtropical coast invite you to join us for four days of performances and presentations. Come to St. Augustine to explore, experience, and celebrate significant past and present practices, methods, and inquiries on music-drama.


From the President

Benjamin Brecher

Professor of Music
The University of California Santa Barbara

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying some much deserved rest and family time.  I am planning on that!!

These past few months the leadership team has been hard at work planning St. Augustine 2022!! (you will see Jess Munoz 's excellent column).

We had wonderful IN PERSON meetings in June at the hotel along with a virtual offering for our Board Members.  It was so nice to see friends in person and many over zoom and talk about NOA and our vision moving forward. I also had to bring Paul Houghtaling a good bottle of wine from Santa Barbara since I lost a bet as Alabama crushed Ohio State in the BCS...No 2 buck Chuck...although I thought about that...

In the coming days you will see a media blitz about the new Argento Fellowships!  The Argento committee, and Kirk and I have been in constant communication and are so excited for this new chapter of NOA to begin.  This bequest will shape future singers and composers for years to come and cement NOA as a major supporter of our wonderful art form in this new special way. I hope you will all join us in St. Augustine for the announcement of the Inaugural Winners of The Argento Fellowships.

Please take the time to look through the Nominating Committee's excellent report. I want to thank that committee for the best work I have ever seen in this very important and essential part of our organization.  It is exciting to read about so many excellent choices for our future leadership team. 

Please enjoy your vacation, and as always, please feel free to reach out to me about anything NOA!

Happy summer,

  From the President-Elect

  Lisa Fauntleroy Moore

  Professor of Voice
  Indiana Wesleyan University

  As President-elect, one of my duties is keeping the     
  NOA Administrative Calendar up-to-date and helping to keep   
  our organization on schedule. This gives me a broad overview of the many activities NOA committees and members are doing all through the year. We are a busy bunch!
Prior to my current position, it was my honor to serve as VP of Conferences. I, along with Robert Hansen chose the site of St. Augustine for our 2020 Conference. Then there was COVID.

It hit each of us hard—as it did the hotel industry. However, having just returned from the NOA Board Meetings in St. Augustine, I am happy to report that, while some things have changed a bit, the site is still wonderful and will be the setting for a fabulous time in Florida this January! 
Be sure to keep up with deadlines for competitions and get your registration in early! And bring a friend, or two!
I cannot wait to be together in Florida—until then, be safe, stay healthy and keep on Rocking Opera!
Respectfully Submitted,

From the Vice-President for Conferences

Isai Jess Muñoz

Associate Professor of Voice and Opera
University of Delaware

The NOA Board of Directors has kept busy this summer, actively preparing for the 67th National Conference, Exploration and Discovery, taking place January 5-8, 2022 in St. Augustine!  I encourage you to view our conference schedule, listing the variety and scope of our thought-provoking sessions. I want to acknowledge and thank the members of our conference committee who took time to thoughtfully review this year’s session proposals. Planning our exciting schedule has reminded us yet again that our conference is nothing without the wealth of knowledge and experience that our presenters bring. Our behind-the-scenes team looks forward to bringing you their timely and valuable presentations.
At this time, I welcome you to encourage your colleagues and students to consider submitting to any of the following conference opportunities now accepting submissions through October 15th :

With our January conference in sunny Florida, golf, swimming and walkways of lush greenery are just a few of the many added bonuses. We’re also planning an evening excursion to take in St. Augustine’s annual “Nights of Lights,” where shopping, dining and trolley rides are illuminated by some three million lights dazzling the bayfront. Start making plans to join us for this historic event! Whether to learn, to strengthen your resolve, to heal, or to seek inspiration, there’s never been a better time to join in all the good that is the National Opera Association. As always, should you have any questions or ideas, feel free to contact me or any members of our board. We’re always here to help.

Wishing you all continued safety and happiness,
Isaí Jess

From the Vice-President for Regions

Dawn Neely

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

Hello all,

I am excited for a new year with, hopefully, a good deal of "back to normal" events. We hope to have a flurry of Regional activities in the upcoming year.  And that means we need you to join us for the NOA National Conference in January 2022!

In addition to the great sessions at the Conference, we will have our Regional Luncheon. This luncheon is a great chance to meet your colleagues and express your ideas for Regional activities. I cannot wait to see all of you at the Conference. We deserve a great face to face celebration in St. Augustine. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or ideas leading up to our National Conference. 


From the Finance Committee

Rebecca Renfro, treasurer

Director of Opera Workshop
Associate Professor of Voice
Sam Houston State University School of Music

I hope this report finds everyone well and enjoying what I hope is a productive and relaxing summer.  It has been encouraging to be out in the last few months and see people enthusiastically embrace a return to normalcy.
In June, I completed a review of year-end financial statements (April 30, 2021) for first full business cycle under new fiscal year, as well as a summary audit.  At the mid-year meeting in St. Augustine, FL, I reported the following findings to the board: 

  • Endowment Investments increased $37,462.81, which represents a 37% increase in investments – this was a good investment year.
  • Our ratio of operating revenues ($26,467) to expenses ($24, 624) is healthy – NOA currently takes in more than we spend.  The primary driving force behind this is a more consistent collection of membership dues, as well as the elimination of credit card debt for the organization.
  • NOA continues to carry a healthy debt ratio – we carry no loan debt and credit cards are paid off monthly.
  • Net revenue from our annual conference is up by $7,555. This is primarily due to the 2021 virtual conference – there were fewer expenses associated with the virtual format.  I believe this is a bit of an anomaly, as our face-to-face conferences historically have carried a more complex financial profile.
  • Intake of dues (our primary source of revenues) are up by $6000.
  • I am continuing to work with the ED to investigate options for hiring an outside auditor for the NOA financial records, keeping in compliance with the organization’s constitution and bylaws. Because there has not been an outside audit in several years, procuring an audit estimate has proven to be more difficult than anticipated.  My intention is to provide recommendations to the Board during the January 2022 annual meeting.
  • In summary, NOA pays its bills in a timely manner and shows consistent healthy endowment growth. Conference budgeting and planning is tantamount in maintaining our healthy financial position, and I believe that the board of directors prioritizes this in their discussions.

In addition to my role as Treasurer, I am serving on the conference committees for both the 2022 and 2023 conferences.  In mid-July, I worked with Kirk Severtson in touring a number of hotels for the Houston location planned for 2023.  There will be more information regarding this conference forthcoming.
I am continually grateful for the insight and leadership of Kirk as well as our entire executive team as we move forward.  I hope to continue to provide support to Kirk Severtson in his work to manage NOA’s day-to-day business activities.
Enjoy the rest of your summer – be well!


2022 Slate of Board Officers and Directors


Presented for election at the organization's
annual business meeting in January 2022
NOA Nominating Committee
Paul Houghtaling, Chair
Ann Baltz
Michael Ching
Alexis Davis-Hazell
Susan Gonzalez

Incoming President-Elect:                              Isaí Jess Muñoz
Returning Vice-President for Regions:             Dawn Neely
Incoming Vice-President for Conference:        Christopher Pfund
Returning Treasurer:                                     Rebecca Renfro
Incoming Recording Secretary:                      Jen Stephenson
Gayla Bauer Blaisdell
Darryl Cooper
James Haffner
Justin John Moniz
Kristin Roach
Scott Skiba
Jon Truitt
Shelby VanNordstrand

Read full candidate bios and statements

The Argento Fellowships


The National Opera Association (NOA) is pleased to announce the Carolyn Bailey Argento Fellowship for Vocal Performance and the Dominick Argento Fellowship for Opera Composition, both of which are made possible through a generous endowment established by the prominent American composer Dominick Argento (1927-2019), and in honor of his wife, the soprano Carolyn Bailey Argento (1930-2006).

These awards, one made to a singer studying vocal performance, and one to a composer with an interest in opera, provide full graduate-level tuition and living expenses for the duration of an eligible graduate degree (up to two years for a master's-level degree, and up to three years for a doctoral-level degree), up to $50,000 per year, each.

Applications to both fellowship programs must be received by October 15, 2021, and recipients will be selected on a competitive basis (see specific guidelines for each fellowship program for details).  Only one fellowship award in each program will be in effect at a time; future successive competition rounds will be announced as funding becomes available, as recipients complete their degree programs.

See Complete Information Here

Young People's Opera Review:

Second Nature

Music and Libretto by Matthew Aucoin
Reviewer:  LeAnn Overton
Photos provided by Lyric Opera of Chicago - (c) Todd Rosenberg
Special thanks to Marianna Moroz, Public Relations Manager

Matthew Aucoin’s opera written in 2015--Second Nature--is becoming more and more relevant as we see the brazen affects of global warming wreaking havoc on our planet.

The story is set after 2100 and focuses on a small group of humans who have sought refuge in a zoo in an attempt to close themselves off to the man-made annihilation of the earth. The Elder Constance enforces strict rules to keep members of the group from leaving the habitat. However, two children Lydia and Jake, are curious about what is “out there.”

Even though Jake and Lydia’s parents have resigned themselves to live and die in the Habitat, the children plot how to escape. There is a Bonobo monkey who has been in the zoo since the humans moved in. He offers the children a taste of real fruit from a tree grown illegally. Bonobo encourages them to leave synthetic behind and see what the world might be like now. The opera ends with the children stepping into the bright light of the sun and returning to nature.



National Opera Association

2022 Conference, St. Augustine, FL

January 5-8, 2022


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for the Future of Opera.
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