Abby Christensen, a sophomore at Bethel College from Gardner, sang her way into the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) semifinals at the west central region conference in Denver, Oct. 24-26.
Christensen was one of two Bethel students to compete and advance in their divisions. She advanced to the semifinals in Lower Division Women’s Music Theater.
As a freshman at Bethel, Christensen sang with the Bethel College Women’s Chorus. She is currently a member of the Concert Choir, and directs the children’s choir at Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, Kan.
She also had a role in “Man of La Mancha,” as Antonia, and played the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina in last year’s fall festival comedy, “You Can’t Take It With You.”
About 450 students competed throughout the weekend, representing colleges and universities of all sizes – Division I to two-year – from the West Central Region, which comprises Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.
NATS has been holding these student competitions for decades at the regional level. In 2014, NATS inaugurated a national competition, open to regional contest winners.
Joshua Powell, a 2011 Bethel music graduate, participated in the first-ever NATS National Student Auditions at the Boston Conservatory and the Boston Marriott Copley Place in July 2014.
Powell, who as a senior at Bethel took first in the Senior Men’s Classical Division at NATS West Central in 2010, placed second in the Graduate/Advanced Men category at NATS National.
NATS was founded in 1944 and is the largest association of teachers of singing in the world. NATS has more than 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and more than 25 other countries.
The NATS mission is “to encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing, and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented.”