2019 CWR Regional Conference and Auditions

We are honored to include 

the following presenters 

at this year's regional conference.


Guest Presenter

Cal-West Region NATS 2019 Guest Artist: Alexis Davis-Hazell, mezzo-soprano


The Versatile Voice: One Foundation, Many Styles

The Great American Songbook, Jazz, Blues, Country, Pop, Rock, Gospel, Musical Theatre, Rhythm and Blues, Mélodie, Cabaret, Lieder, Oratorio, Opera, Spirituals and more...

Historically within Western pop, folk and art cultures there seem to be as many subgenres and styles of music as there are people to perform them. To some degree, there are – each approach to the vocal performance of music can be as representative of the individual and their time, as the style they have chosen. 

Today's marketplace for the performing arts demands not exclusivity but a syncretic approach to musical styles presented by one versatile voice. However, grounding the human musical instrument in a healthy fundamental technique is the goal of the conscientious singing teacher. This practice does not limit or confine a singer to one genre of music.  It does the opposite.  Paired with an understanding of the varied uses of resonance and musical articulation across styles, it becomes a master key to the doors of potential in many genres, no matter which is your primary mode. 


This workshop explores: 

· the mechanics of shaping resonance and articulation with a single voice at the acoustic level, 

· applying foundational techniques of breath management, healthy vocal onset and flow phonation, for the benefit of

· achieving fluency in multiple styles.


The session includes interactive group exercises and solo performance samples as we work through different modalities. We will discuss strategies for navigating mode switch within minutes, and crafting successful performances of multiple genres through calculated selection of repertoire which capitalize on the primary orientation of the singer. 


· Solo singers are invited to bring two selections from their repertoire which require two different types of resonance:

     · one based in classical music tradition or golden age (pre-1959) musical theatre and the other

     · a contemporary musical theatre, folk or commercial music styleConfer

About Alexis Davis-Hazell

American mezzo-soprano Alexis Davis-Hazell is an experienced teaching artist and active performer in the Southeast United States and on international stages, having performed in upwards of seventy productions of forty-one different operas and musicals in six languages. From Mme. de Croissy of Poulenc's Dialogue of the Carmelites and Dritte Dame of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, to Frugola of Puccini's Il Tabarro and the High Priestess of Verdi's Aida, her performances have earned accolades for the size and quality of her instrument, and the dramatic intensity she brings to supporting characters. 

Alexis has participated in more than one hundred and twenty performances of The Gershwins’ masterwork Porgy and Bess since 2008 in a variety of capacities, including those produced on the eight-show per week musical theater-touring model. On tour, she performed at each level ranging from ensemble understudy to principal character. She has sung the roles of Maria, Lily and Strawberry Woman in houses throughout Germany, Russia, Poland, Greece, Latvia, Switzerland and North America. These include critically acclaimed performances and debuts at the Dresden SemperOper, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, the Mikhailovsky Opera in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Polish National Opera of Warsaw, the Kuressaare Operadays Festival in Estonia, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Along with the critically acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess at San Francisco Opera, she also performed in their Show Boat – both directed by Francesca Zambello, conducted by John de Main and shown in HD cinema release, marketed internationally on DVD and shown nationally on PBS.

The Philadelphia native brought her stage experience to the studio and the classroom in Phoenix, Arizona for fourteen years, serving on the voice faculties at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and Grand Canyon University. She has been recognized for her dedication in service to students and awarded for maintaining high rates of student retention in applied voice, class voice, and music humanities courses. Dr. Davis-Hazell joined the voice faculty of the University of Alabama in Fall 2018.

Dr. Davis-Hazell holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons.) degree in Vocal Performance from Temple University and graduate degrees—a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance-Pedagogy, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance—from Arizona State University. Cognate fields of study during her graduate work included vocal acoustics, voice disorders and rehabilitation, and Baroque era historical performance practice. Her continuing research centers on the improvement of curricula for lyric diction pedagogy and Russian art song literature studies tailored to beginning Anglophone singers, based on innovative applications of clinical phonetics and second language learning theory.

Alexis continues to exercise her fluency in a diversity of repertoire, as a musical director in theatre (I love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Monty Python’s Spamalot,) and jazz cabarets, as well as a concert soloist and performer of opera’s dramatic repertoire. While covering roles such as Amneris (Aida), Azucena (Il Trovatore), Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) and others for regional companies, she maintains a regional concert performance schedule. Organizations of note include the Southern Arizona Symphony, Symphony of the Southwest, the Arizona Pro Arte Orchestra, The West Valley Symphony (AZ), Utah Festival Opera and Mississippi Opera. Her concert soloist appearances since contributing to the GRAMMY™ award-winning album Gretchaninov: Passion Week with the Phoenix Chorale include the Mark Hayes Te Deum with the Sing Phoenix! Festival, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the Arizona State Symphony, Dvořak Stabat Mater with the Phoenix Symphony Chamber Ensemble and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Chandler Symphony and Scottsdale Philharmonic in Arizona. Upcoming appearances include Ruth/Katisha/Buttercup in Mississippi Opera’s Hilarious World of Gilbert and Sullivan, and guest artist concerts at the Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Alamos Mexico. She will also originate the role of Rachel in Joseph Landers’ new opera Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which will premiere as a fully staged production by the Tuscaloosa Symphony in the fall of 2019, and broadcast on local public television in conjunction with the bicentennial celebrations of the state of Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa.

Dr. Davis-Hazell actively serves the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) as a representative on the national membership committee and regional nominating committees. Alexis is also an artist entrepreneur and Creative Director of the innovative production company Jazzoperetry, Inc, co-founded with her husband, basso cantante singer and composer/arranger, Earl Hazell.


Session Presenters

Kevin Chance, collaborative pianist

Kevin T. Chance, NCTM, serves as Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Alabama where he also coordinates the Gloria Narramore Moody Piano Area. He has performed throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia as both soloist and chamber musician, and he is frequently in demand as a clinician and adjudicator. Recent presentations include lectures for the Music Teachers National Association Conference, the American Matthay Association, and the College Music Society. A dedicated teacher, he was the recipient of the 2015-2016 AMTA Teacher of the Year Award. His students consistently receive top awards in state, regional, and national competitions. Dr. Chance holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Louisiana State University, and Birmingham-Southern College, and his primary teachers include Barry Snyder, Constance Knox Carroll, and William DeVan. He is also an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival where he studied with Ann Schein and Herbert Stessin. A former national board member of MTNA, Kevin currently serves as the Vice President of the American Matthay Association. 


Ruth Ellis: Student Pre-Conference Workshop: Audition Preparation

Entrances and Exits. Working With a Pianist. Performance Anxiety.

About Ruth Ellis:

Ruth has enjoyed singing numerous operatic and music theater roles and from Queens to Wardrobes and concertizes regularly having sung 57 sung concerts in venues across the nation. Of one performance the New York Daily News reported she sang with "soaring dramatic authority." In addition to founding the Ruth Ellis Vocal Academy in 2000, she teaches at Snow College and has been guest teacher at many other schools and universities. Ruth is currently serving as governor of the NATS Cal Western Region. Dr. Ellis earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Manhattan School of Music and studied and performed in New York for fourteen years. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Utah in April of 2016 and completed the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute training at Shenandoah Conservatory in 2017. Ruth and her husband of 30 years are the proud parents of six children.


Olga Perez Flora, mezzo-soprano

About Olga Perez Flora:

Cuban-American mezzo-soprano, Olga Perez Flora, has been lauded by Opera News for her “smoky tones” and “firm, pleasant voice and lively poise.” Recent engagements include Eunice in A Streetcar Names Desire, deFalla’s El amor brujo, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, the Duraflé Requiem, Bach’s Cantata 147, Respighi’s Il Tramonto, Hayden’s Lord Nelson Mass, and the Messiah, as well as Frost in the new recording of Stephen Colantti’s children’s opera The Selfish Giant. Upcoming performances include a concert at NYU, a festival in Havana, Cuba and Verdi’s Requiem. Dr. Flora received her DMA in vocal performance from The Ohio State University, an MM in opera theater from Arizona State University, and a BM in vocal performance from Northern Arizona University. She is currently an assistant professor of voice at UNR, is represented by Berger Artists Management and is the president of the Reno Chapter of NATS.



CJ Greer: Music Theatre Masterclass and Workshop “Sing out Louise!!”

Students will explore various vocal exercises for building excellent musical theatre style singing, including awareness of head voice/falsetto, speech level vocalization and belt resonance.  Volunteers will then have the opportunity to put these skills into practice, exploring singing choices that reflect our acting choices.  Interested students should prepare a 16-bar cut of a musical theatre selection.  Please bring a recording of your accompaniment and/or sheet music for the accompanist. CJ Greer, University of Nevada, Voice/Music Theatre – MFA in Musical Theatre Vocal Pedagogy;/MM Classical Perf&Ped, Penn State University.


About CJ Greer:

CJ Greer is thrilled to have joined the Music and Music Theatre faculty at UNR to build a Musical Theatre degree program! She carries an MFA and MM in Musical Theatre and Classical Performance & Pedagogy from Penn State University. CJ has performed around the world from theme park to Broadway. She is a singer, actor, teacher, and conductor with an undying love for storytelling, and inspiring others to find their unique voice in the music. (78) CJ frequently presents at conferences, including ‘Bel Canto Can Belto’ – an experiential weekend workshop introducing voice teachers to musical theatre vocal pedagogy. She also teaches high school and collegiate workshops, and is the vocal instructor for The Broadway Artist Intensive – a summer MT training program. Broadway/National Tour credits: Sister Act, Les Misérables, The Producers, Ragtime, I Love A Piano, The Buddy Holly Story; Regional Credits: Mamma Mia (Casa Mañana), Annie* (Olney), Chess (NC Raleigh), The Happy Time* (Signature Theatre), She Loves Me, The Addams Family, Into the Woods, Secret Garden, and more.


Errik Hood: Drama in the Voice Studio: Dramatic Preparation of Vocal Repertoire

We work hard to ensure our repertoire is accurately learned and polished from a musical, technical, and language perspective. But, are we bringing that same level of commitment to preparing our music from a dramatic perspective? This workshop utilizes concepts from David Ostwald’s Acting for Singers: Creating Believable Singing Characters to help singers thoroughly prepare their music for an engaged and effective dramatic performance.

About Errik Hood:

Dr. Errik M. Hood, baritone, is Assistant Professor and Voice and Opera Program Coordinator at Utah State University. Dr. Hood has performed professionally with opera companies and orchestras around the country and recently made his international debut singing solos for Vaughan Williams’ Sancta Civitas and Dona Nobis Pacem at the Great Britain Choral Festival at Ely Cathedral. Dr. Hood has presented workshops and lecture recitals at NATS Conferences at the local, regional, and national level, as well as for the College Music Society, North American British Music Studies Association, and universities all over the United States. Dr. Hood currently serves as Northern Utah NATS Chapter President and as Moderator for SNATS Chat online (more info: Dr. Hood holds a DMA from The Ohio State University, MM from the Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University, and a BM from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.


Dr. Seth Keeton: SongHelix, Art Song Discovery meets the Digital Humanities

SongHelix is an online tool that enables users to search through the vast repertoire of classical songs to find just the right piece. The website’s immediate purpose is to give singers and collaborative pianists the primary online tool for finding related repertoire. There has never been an easy way to search through the estimated 200,00 art songs for thematic links, keywords, or features. SongHelix brings this ever-evolving information available into one searchable location.

About Seth Keeton:

Bass-baritone, Seth Keeton’s performances have been described by The New York Times as “driven” and “emotionally pointed.” He has performed roles on the stages of Utah Opera, The Minnesota Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Central City Opera, Arizona Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Austin Lyric Opera and Opera Omaha, Chautauqua Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, and Theater Bremen in Bremen, Germany.   A passionate recitalist and oratorio performer, Mr. Keeton has been seen in concert as the bass soloist in the major oratorios. In 2006, he was a national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has received awards from the Sullivan Foundation and the Eleanor McCollum Competition. Mr. Keeton received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota and is an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Utah School of Music.


Albert Rudolph Lee, tenor

Tenor, Albert Rudolph Lee’s performances have been described as “vocally sumptuous,” 

“musically distinctive” and even “acrobatically agile.” Having appeared with Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, and the Caramoor International Music Festival, Dr. Lee’s recent performances include the tenor solo in Bruckner Te Deum with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, a performance of George Walker’s Lilac’s for Tenor and Orchestra for the opening concert of the African American Art Song Alliance 20th Anniversary Conference, and performances with Cincinnati Opera. In his seventh year on the voice faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Lee’s upcoming activities include the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Jackson Symphony, a recital of chamber music and art song at the University of Puget Sound, and the world premiere of Douglas Buchanan’s opera Bessie and M


Brian Manternach: Music Theater Singing By the Book

“You can’t learn how to sing from reading a book!” Or can you? 

NATS-sponsored publications have taken a leading role in promoting techniques for singing in non-classical genres. Therefore, this presentation will examine the techniques for music theater singing as outlined in NATS resources, including the Journal of Singing, the books in the  So You Want to Sing series, and other books and articles written by NATS members. 

About Brian Manternach:

Brian Manternach, tenor, is on the voice faculty of the University of Utah’s Department of Theatre, maintains a private studio, and serves as Utah NATS District Governor and Western Governor for the Pan-American Vocology Association. His students have been cast in national Broadway tours and in professional productions in the USA and abroad and have earned top honors in vocal competitions from the local to international levels. A recipient of the NATS Voice Pedagogy Award, he has given national/international presentations for the Voice Foundation, VASTA, PAVA, NCVS, the University of Utah Voice Disorders Center, TEDxSaltLakeCity and for NATS at chapter, regional, and national conferences. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Singing, and he authors “The Singer’s Library” book review column for Classical Singer magazine. An active singer, he holds a D.M. from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.


Michelle Markwart-Deveaux: Change Your Fee Structure to Change Your Life

Alternative Pricing to the Pay-Per-Lesson model 


We Independent Studios need tools for running our businesses and maintaining our passions in voice teaching. Join me for an introduction to tuition, subscription, and value-based fee structures for private studios. Learn ways to move away from the traditional pay-per-lesson model. We can reduce the need for hectic make-up schedules and cancellation policies that are difficult to explain and enforce. We can increase revenue to serve students! Bring your growth mindset! Let’s do this!

About Michelle Markwart-Deveaux:

I, Michelle Markwart Deveaux, am what happens when your brain is on bel canto. Actually, I’m what happens years after a voice teacher introduces a fifteen-year-old NorCal girl to classical singing technique. Voice? AWESOMED. Even more important? MIND. BLOWN. Suddenly my voice could make new sounds. Better sounds. It was... intoxicating. I needed to understand. ALL. THE. THINGS. Hooked, I learned other techniques. Bel canto was the gateway drug to the bigger dangers of psycho-ping, superbelt, scream, jazz…I couldn’t get enough of pedagogy, voice science, and anatomy. I couldn’t get enough voice. Turns out my real jam was teaching singers, actors, executives, leaders, and public speakers how to use their voice for maximum impact. I built faithculturekiss studio for voice and acting. Best drug? Business! I had to share that too, so I began business strategy and coaching services for other independent voice teachers. I built The SpeakEasy Cooperative for us peeps who crave community, smarts, and becoming small-business beastybosses (patent pending). If you must know: Patten University, University of Northern Colorado, and Fuller Theological Seminary. Current president of the California Chapter of NATS. Trailblazer for underdog teachers, Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Hard Stuff Sherpa.