Whitman College voice-competitors at NAT
All together now. Representing Whitman, from left: Gillian Brown, Noah Dunn, Jackie Wood, Leisha Casimiro (front), Diane Gray-Chamberlain, Ashlyn Quintus, Luc Birchfield, Monica Griffin Hunter, Olivia Lipson and Angie Mead.

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In early November, a talented group of Whitman students made their voices heard. They traveled, along with their voice teachers, to Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, for the annual National Association of the Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition.

NATS is the largest professional association of voice teachers in the world. Whitman College has been a regular participant in the Inland Empire Chapter of NATS annual competition — with Whitman students as competitors and Department of Music faculty as judges. The college also serves as a rotating host.

This year, there were 117 competitors representing seven universities: Central Washington University, University of Idaho, Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University, Washington State University, Whitman College and Yakima Community College.

Seven Whitman students competed in the regional competition. Four students advanced to the final round, with three singers placing first in their categories and one placing second.

First place winners included:

  • Luc Birchfield ’20, of Seattle, Washington, music (performance) major: Tenor/Bass Baritone Classical Division (Second Year College)
  • Leisha Casimiro ’22, of Kimball, Nebraska, music (performance) major: Treble Classical Division (Second Year College)
  • Noah Dunn ’21, of Bellingham, Washington, German studies/environmental humanities major: Tenor/Bass Baritone Classical Division (Third Year College)

Birchfield, Casimiro and Dunn are all students of Monica Hunter, director of voice studies and senior lecturer of music. They were accompanied by Jackie Wood, senior lecturer of music.

Ashlyn Quintus ’20, an English and theatre major from Mandan, North Dakota, won second in Upper College Musical Theatre Division. She’s a student of Diane Gray-Chamberlain, studio music instructor, and was accompanied by Carissa Pitkin Cox.

Gillian Brown ’23 of Lynden, Washington; Olivia Lipson ’22 of Norwalk, Connecticut; and Angie Mead ’20, a music (performance) and computer science major from Bainbridge Island, Washington, rounded out the Whitman troupe.

"Our students greatly benefit from the comments from esteemed voice teachers," Hunter said. "And we, as teachers, benefit professionally from the resources provided to NATS members on current teaching research and approaches to singing."