NATS-Tennessee Workshop

It’s always good when I can combine business and a few days of vacation in one trip. Sorry that this posting is being added eight months after the fact, but better late than never, I guess.

This was my first journey since the world went on lockdown due to the COVID pandemic. I’d done several virtual events and debated until the last moment whether it was safe for me to go to Tennessee for a face-to-face workshop, even one sponsored by the state chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Their workshop was scheduled October 22-23, 2021, and was co-sponsored East Tennessee State University, Johnson City. Event information is on their website. Vaccinations and masking protocols were in place by that point, and I felt that with sufficient care, I could minimize the exposure.

I had two events scheduled that Saturday. I decided to drive so that I could spend some time with my family on the East Coast before returning to Iowa. It was October, so the leaf display in the Appalachian Mountains had begun its beautiful fall leaf transition. I wanted to make sure I arrived with time to spare, indeed I hoped to make the recital scheduled for Friday night, so my drive to Tennessee was direct and blessedly uneventful. Until I arrived there, I had not realized that my route would take me past the Cumberland Gap park. I decided to circle back and enter the park itself. Unfortunately, time didn’t permit me to do more than drive up to Pinnacle Overlook, but it was worth the view. I arrived at the university, but by the time I got checked into the hotel and discovered a variety of unplanned problems that I had to resolve, I missed the recital and chose to complete prep for the next day’s workshop and get some sleep.

My first presentation was a lecture to both student and voice teacher workshop attendees on a brief history of the concert spiritual and their composers and performers. The second was a much more free-flowing discussion about performance practice and how the vocal instructors might approach teaching concert spirituals in their studios.The last picture below is of the three of us presenters and the organizers of the workshop.

I checked out from the hotel and drove to the DMV, both were uneventful. After spending time with my DC area siblings and other family, I made my way back to Iowa, a route I’ve driven many times, and thus, only stopped for the necessities.