Governor's message

Dear Texoma friends,

I write to you today after returning from 9 wonderful days in Las Vegas at the 55th NATS National Conference and NATS board meeting.  Our region was incredibly well-represented, in terms of:

  • Leaders: Daniel Hunter Holly (South Texas District Governor and recipient of a NATS Emerging Leader award) to Kristen McKinley (recipient of an Joan Frey Boytim Award for Independent Teachers)
  • Presenting members: Christian Bester, Texoma Treasurer/Registrar Greg Brookes, Bronwen Forbay, Mark Diamond, Juanita Ulloa, and John Nix
  • Board members: Diana Allan, past Texoma Governor and VP for Auditions; Jason Lester, past Texoma Governor and incoming NATS Secretary/Treasurer; Barbara Hill Moore, NATS Foundation Board
  • Students:
    • Category 2 – High School Music Theater Men
      • 1st Place: Toshaan Arora, Texoma, Region, Student of Michelle Haché
    • Category 5 – Lower College Music Theater Women
      • 1st Place: Sydney Byte, Texoma Region, Student of Robin Cotton-Cobb
    • Category 9 – Upper College Music Theater Women
      • 3rd Place: Hannah Bach, Texoma Region, Student of Jeffrey Picon
    • Category 12 – Upper College/ Independent Studio Men
      • Honorable Mention: Cardarious Bonner, Texoma Region, Student of Guy Wilson, Jr.
    • Category 14 – Graduate/Advanced Men
      • 3rd Place: Gerald Nicholas, Texoma Region, Student of Guy Wilson, Jr.


One item you will notice upon visiting is that our website has changed.  We have recently debuted the newly updated website,, which offers leading-edge infrastructure designed to better reach teachers and students interested in learning more about the association and the programs we offer.

The update included a myriad of new features designed to make the Texoma NATS website a more secure, user-friendly, accessible portal, and fiscally responsible for our region. Now, visitors can browse the Texoma NATS website from any handheld device. In addition, the website has been optimized to include search engine-friendly links. Those SEO-optimized links mean that people searching for the Texoma NATS can more easily find the website and its pages.

The website has also been upgraded to include secure socket layer (SSL) technology, yielding a website including “https”. This is the hallmark of safety in today’s digital world, and Google’s search engine algorithm penalizes websites without it.

Discover Web Solutions was contracted by our region’s board to complete the update. The local web development and digital marketing company works with companies of all sizes, especially small and medium-sized companies, to position their digital presences in front of audiences by way of exceptional websites and more.

Regional Conference

Preparations are well under way for 68th Texoma NATS Regional Conference and Student Auditions November 7-10 at Baylor University.  Later in the summer, we will offer a full update regarding our upcoming conference.  Registration will begin in September and close on October 10, and hotel information will appear on our website soon.  Fully updated conference information will also appear there soon.  We will hold the Hall Johnson Spiritual competition on Wednesday, along with Summer Program Auditions, and the preliminary round of the Edward Baird Singer of the Year Competition.  Thursday and Friday will be filled with Student Auditions and the Texoma NATS Artist Series and Master Teacher Series.  Saturday will hold Student Audition Semifinals and Finals, along with the finals of the Edward Baird Singer of the Year Competition.

Artist Series

Each year for our annual conference, a call is put out to Texoma members for proposals to present lectures, recitals, programs, and/or performances. Under Richard Berry's tenure as Governor, we began to call this part of the program the "Texoma Artist Series."

A committee, chosen by the Region Governor, blindly reviews submissions and chooses the presentations to provide a varied program from all reaches of the Texoma Region.  This year, the selection process was highly competitive.  Our review panel reviewed 24 Artist Series proposals, and the following 10 were selected for our upcoming conference:   


Artist Series #1

Composer as Poet

Jacquelyn Matava, mezzo-soprano

Carolyn True, piano


Artist Series #2            

Ben Moore’s “Dear Theo” for Tenor Voice and Piano: A Performer’s Guide

Gregory Gallagher, tenor

Kayla Paul, piano


Artist Series #3           

Determining Repertoire Assignments for the Developing Voice Through Works of Black Female Composers

Gwendolyn Alfred, soprano

James D. Rodriguez, baritone

Atrina McCain, piano


Artist Series #4         

Belting: What We Need to Know to Train Young Female Voice

Blythe Cates, soprano


Artist Series #5        

Improvisation as Generative Tool for New Opera

Ellen Denham


Artist Series #6

The Forgotten Lieder of Franz Schreker

Alicia Wallace, soprano

Nola Strand, piano


Artist Series #7       

Urtext Dichterliebe: New Musico-poetic interpretations with the Additional Heine Poems

David Kirkwood, tenor

Cordelia Lam Kirkwood, piano


Artist Series #8    

Czech Your Diction: adding this Slavic language to your toolbox is easier than you think!

Elizabeth Avery


Artist Series #9          

Deux--Classical Vocal Duo presents Lesser Known Gems of the Vocal Duet Repertoire

Crystal Jarell Johnson, soprano

Angela Malek, soprano

Elena Portnaya, piano                  


Artist Series #10

La Voix Feminine

Stephanie Beinlich, soprano

Kayla Paul, piano


As always, if I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I look forward to sharing more with you about our upcoming conference in August.

Best wishes,


Randy Umstead

NATS Texoma Region Governor