-- Hope Fairchild, a graduate voice student at The University
of Southern Mississippi, was the winner of the southern region National
Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award (NATSAA) Competition
held May 1 in Monroe, La. She will compete with 14 other singers
in July in New Orleans at the organization's national convention.
A student of
Dr. Larry Smith, professor of voice in the School of Music at Southern
Miss, Fairchild is a graduate teaching assistant in the choral area.
She also serves as music associate at Petal-Harvey Baptist Church
in Petal and director of the Petal-Harvey School of the Arts.
a former conducting graduate assistant. She led the university's
Concert Choir and University Singers and was an assistant conductor
for the Southern Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Gregory Fuller,
director of choral activities.
very exciting to have my student win such a prestigious award,"
Smith said. "As far as I know, this is the first time a current
School of Music singer has won this award."
Smith has been
Fairchild's primary voice professor and vocal coach for the last
10 years and encourages her to work with other respected singing
professionals to broaden her horizons.
been the individual who has challenged me most to work and achieve
my fullest potential," Fairchild said.
winning was quite a surprise. "I knew one of my competitors
going into the competition and knew that she was well prepared,"
Fairchild said. "I was excited to have finally won a competition
of some importance and to know that all my work had not been in
was not only a boost to her confidence, but it gave Fairchild a
certain amount of respect from her peers. "Personally, it has
shown me that I have a God-given ability that I didn't fully understand
or appreciate as much as I do now."
the organization's Web site, "The purpose of the NATSAA Competition
has been to select, through a series of elimination rounds on the
district, regional, and national levels, singers whose artistry
indicates that they are ready for a professional career and to encourage
them toward that goal with a cash prize and the opportunity for
she competes in New Orleans this summer and hopefully wins, this
will mean big things for her career," Smith said. "NATSAA
will assist the winner of the competition in getting additional
singing engagements and in promoting (his or) her talent. And, it
would be a wonderful addition to her (Fairchild's) resume."
takes place every other year, in conjunction with the NATS conventions.
The finals are always scheduled as a featured part of the opening
day of the convention.
at the national level would definitely be an asset to any singer/teacher
looking for a position at a university or in a professional singing
career," Fairchild said. "It (winning) would also include
a monetary prize and a public concert which has been held at Carnegie
Hall in New York, a very important debut for any professional singer."
of Joe Fairchild of Oak Grove and Susan Fairchild of Purvis, the
young singer has no prediction of how she will fare at the national
level. "I'm not familiar with any of the other singers, but
knowing that they have worked so diligently to win their regional
titles, I'm sure it will be a challenging competition," she