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Conference Announcement from the Governor

posted on 9:55 AM, September 14, 2016

Dear Texoma Colleagues,


I trust your academic schedule is off to a wonderful start. I have several updates and details to communicate to you regarding the upcoming Texoma Conference this November at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. I apologize that our Conference registration has not gone live yet. There have been a few significant issues that have delayed us.


Scheduling Software and Registration:
As many of you know, our scheduling software has been failing for several years. It is now officially beyond repair. The National Office had planned to implement a scheduling program for all Regions, Districts, and Chapters to utilize beginning this Fall, however because of an unforeseen shortage in key staff personnel, they were not able to complete this project before our Fall conference dates. Some Texoma Region executive leadership (Melinda Brou [Auditions Chair], San-ky Kim [Webmaster], Gregory Brookes [Treasurer/Registrar], and myself) have been in communication with a company who is writing a new program for us. This has taken considerable time and patience through this tedious process, as you can imagine. However, the good news is the National Office intends to use this same company for the official NATS scheduling software. This transition will simply happen for Texoma one year early. Additionally, we felt it was important to have all of our registrations (Student Auditions, Edward Baird Singer of the Year, and Summer Program Auditions) directed through the same registration process. The coding for this software also involves implementing payment methods for lunches, tickets, registration fees, etc. Melinda Brou and San-ky Kim have been incredible advocates for our Region’s scheduling and registration needs throughout this process. We are very close to completion and our anticipated opening for registration is Monday, September 12. We apologize for these extreme delays; however the coding of these programs takes time.



Repertoire Requirements
There are no repertoire requirement changes for any of our auditions, competitions, or programs this year. The listing of repertoire requirements on the Texoma website for the Edward Baird Singer of the Year, Summer Program Auditions, and Student Auditions are current and accurate.



Hotels
Due to some unusual circumstances, we opted to go a different route this year by recommending several hotels that have given us very competitive conference rates, rather than a designated “host” hotel. These hotels are located in Amarillo and in Canyon. Amarillo is approximately 20 minutes away from Canyon.



Parking, Lunches, and Registration Fees
West Texas A&M University has generously provided free parking options for our conference attendees this year. There will be multiple parking lots available for us, as well as a shuttle for offsite parking. Just an FYI, lunch selections for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will cost $7.50 this year. There will be a vegetarian option. All registration fees have remained the same this year. The teacher registration fee is $50, the Student Auditions fee is $20, the Edward Baird Singer of the Year fee is $50 and the Summer Program Auditions fee is $20.



Guest Artist and Tickets
This year’s guest artist is Twyla Robinson. She will present a recital on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20. Additionally, Ms. Robinson will lead a master class on Friday, November 4, 2016. Twyla Robinson has performed with the leading orchestras and opera houses throughout North America and Europe, including the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Staatskapelle, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, and Florida Grand Opera, to name a few.



Opera and tickets
West Texas A&M University’s Opera Workshop will present Menotti’s The Medium on Friday, November 4, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.



Artist Series
Our Artist Series presenters have been posted to the website. We look forward to an educational and inspirational group of presentations this year.



Master Teacher Series
This year’s Master Teacher Series will bring Penelope Bitzas to our Region Conference to lead a master class on Thursday, November 3, 2016. Ms. Bitzas is an Associate Professor of Music at Boston University. Her students have been winners and finalists in numerous competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Opera Index, George London Competition, and NATSAA. Additionally, her students have performed with Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Nashville Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Michigan Opera Theater, amongst others.



Guest Judges
We are honored to welcome Linda Snyder, NATS President, as one of our Guest Judges for this year’s Edward Baird Singer of the Year competition. We are thrilled to have our Association’s President attend our Region’s Conference.



I was incredibly pleased during the site visit to West Texas A&M in April and I know they are eager to showcase their fine facilities and program to our Region. Matt Oglesby, site coordinator, has been working tremendously hard to make sure all arrangements are finalized for what promises to be a great conference.



Once again, I apologize for the various delays, but am thankful for your patience and understanding as we transition through these registration and scheduling software issues. Please watch for an email from me and website updates announcing the registration going live.



I look forward to seeing you at the 66th annual Texoma Conference at West Texas A&M University November 2-5, 2016.



Respectfully,



Jason Lester

Governor, Texoma Region
National Association of Teachers of Singing

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