CSU students advance to top 14 in national singing competition
Charleston Southern University seniors Timmi Winston and Jairus McClanahan have both earned spots in the top 14 in their respective categories for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Student Auditions, and have advanced to the Semifinals to be held in Las Vegas at the end of June. Both students have advanced in the Upper College Music Theatre categories for Women and Men, respectively.
Winston, from Summerville, is majoring in Choral Music Education at Charlesotn Southern. She studies voice with Dr. Jill Terhaar Lewis, and has been featured with CSU Lyric Theatre in their productions of the musical Seussicaland the review show Dynamic Duos. She has also been a featured soloist with the Hilton Head Choral Society and at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church where she is also director of the Children’s Choir.
Featured in community productions of The Little Mermaid and in Piccolo Spoleto productions such as the Piccolo Comes to Kiawah series and as soloist in the Manny Houston and Friends– Take Me to Church concert, McClanahan is a Vocal Music Performance major hailing from Greenville. He studies voice with Dr. Jennifer Luiken, and is a favorite of the Charleston theater community. He has also been featured in CSU Lyric Theatre Productions of You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught and She Loves Me. Jairus is slated to play the role of Pepper in Mamma Mia, and will also be in Beauty and the Beast with Charleston Stage this year.
Winston and McClanahan are also both members of CSU choral ensembles including CSU Concert Singers and the gender ensembles Bel Canto (Winston) and Singing Buccaneers (McClanahan).
In order to participate in NATS Student Auditions, a singer must be a student of a current NATS member. The singer’s participation category is determined by a variety of factors – including musical style, the amount of time he or she has studied voice, age, and year in school. More than 80 NATS chapters hold NATS Student Auditions each year from the organization’s 14 regions. Top performers have an opportunity to advance to the national round of auditions.
South Carolina NATS held District Auditions for Music Theater and Contemporary Commercial Music in October at Converse College in conjunction with the SCNATS Fall Workshop. Classical and the Hall Johnson Spiritual category Auditions were held in February at the College of Charleston. Singers in eligible categories advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Region competition held at Liberty University in Virginia in March. The Mid-Atlantic Region advanced 45 students to the National Semifinals – more than any other Region in the Nation – and includes members from the S.C., N.C., Va., and District of Columbia-Md. districts.
Students who advanced to the Preliminary National round at Region competition submitted videos to YouTube for evaluation. Up to 14 semifinalists were selected for each of the 15 categories. Categories range in age from High School through Advanced College. The Semifinal and Final rounds will be held live at the NATS National Conference June 21-26 to be held in Las Vegas at the Tropicana.
The Horton School of Music (HSM) at Charleston Southern University prepares students for careers as professional musicians, educators, music therapists and worship leaders, and furthers the performing arts in the Charleston region and beyond. To learn more about HSM, visit www.charlestonsouthern.edu/music.