2014 National Conference in Boston:

Darell Haynes, semi-finalist at Boston Conference,

Donald Simonson and Anson Woolin, finalist for the Natinal Music Theater Competition

Timothy Schmidt, Ann Cravero, Anne Marie Daehn, and Jonathan Struve all did poster presentations in Boston.

CRNATS at the Gala
(see more pictures in the Photo Gallery)


2015 NATS Central Region
Student Auditions and Conference
submissions due between
March 1 - April 15, 2015
Click here for instructions
and required info

2014 Central Region Student Auditions via You-Tube
RESULTS Click here


Dear Members of the NATS Central Region,      

It is an honor to work with all of you as the NATS Central Region Governor. It is time for new vibrancy in our Region at the Chapter, District, and Region levels as we anticipate the 2015 Central Region Student Conference and Auditions at Olivet Nazarene College in Bourbonnais, Il November 12 – 14, 2015, and the NATS 54th National Conference in Chicago, IL July 8 - 12, 2016!

To bring focus and initiative I have chosen a theme for the Central Region. “Pedagogy: Enhanced and Informed.” This is inspired by NATS Past-President and fellow Central Region NATS member, from the Iowa District, Donald Simonson. His tireless efforts have contributed toward many opportunities and inspired connections with fellow pedagogues that have profoundly affected my own teaching and very likely, yours. His creative instinct to bring pedagogues together to share expertise is a shining example of what NATS has to offer and how much we can learn and be rejuvenated by each other.

The 2015 Central Region Student Conference and Auditions will include additional opportunities to enhance and inform pedagogy for us and our students: Karen Brunssen

  • Student Auditions: (The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each division are eligible to advance to the on-line semi-finals for the National Student Auditions. Finalists from that round are invited to compete in Chicago at the 54th National Conference)
  • A master class
  • Book signings by region members who have published
  • A call will be put out in spring, 2015 to all Central Region members for proposals to give a 60 minute presentation such as a lecture/recital, a lecture, a mini-opera, recital, etc. A committee, chosen by the Region Governor, will review submissions and choose which presentations will be scheduled during the event. It’s never too soon to start putting your ideas together for this.
  • We will have a “Topical Breakfast” where each table of teachers will have a moderator and a specific pedagogical topic that will be discussed.

Recently, at the Chicago Chapter NATS Student Auditions I shared the names of fellow members who have published books, recorded CD’s, sung concerts, and done presentations for other NATS Chapters, Districts, and Regions. It is an impressive amount of creative activity. A renewed sense of initiative to explore is something we can work toward in our daily work as vocal pedagogues. NATS Chapters, Districts, and Regions are designed to support that exploration. We will work to keep a list of Central Region achievements and “Book Corner” on our website: Note the considerable involvement with the Boston conference. I know of at least two books by members of our region that will be published soon. Your noteworthy activities are welcome. Send them to

Very close to my home, just 10 minutes away, is Central Region member, otolaryngologist, Dr. Robert Bastian, (The Bastian Voice Institute, Downers Grove, IL). In the spirit of “Pedagogy: Enhanced and Informed”, here is video he shared with me: “Vocal Fold Swelling Checks: A Simple Way to Detect the Early Signs of Vocal Injury” by Bastian Medical Media:

The momentum begins now. We are updating the website, adding new members to the Board of Directors, connecting with every District Governor and Chapter President to offer support and learn about their plans that we should include on the Region website, reaching out to lapsed members and looking for new members. I fully appreciate how a strong infrastructure can be a catalyst for our creative and artistic energies to reach fruition. That is the ultimate goal. Your involvement and ideas are important and welcome! I will be at the 53rd NATS Conference in Boston. If you plan to attend let me know. We plan to have a Central Region get-together there.


Karen Brunssen

NATS Central Region Governor

Central Region Website

Board of Directors

Region Governor        Bio
Karen Brunssen
Bienen School of Music
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL

Treasurer/Past Governor (2006-2010)        Bio
Sarah Holman
Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL

Past Region Governor (2010-2012)        Bio
Anne Petrie
Central College
Pella, Iowa

Missouri District Governor        Bio
NATS Foundation Liaison

Carol Chapman
Missouri State University School of Music
Springfield, MO

Iowa District Governor        Bio
Leanne Freeman-Miller
Drake University
Des Moines, Iowa

Illinois District Governor        Bio
Kathleen van de Graaff
Lake Forest College
Lake Forest, IL

NATS Past President/Advisor to        Bio
Central Region Board of Directors

Donald Simonson
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa

SNATS Liason,        Bio
Mitra Sadeghpour
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Mitra Sadeghpour

Region Auditions Host 2015        Bio
Neal Woodruff
Olivet Nazarene

Northern Illinois Chapter President        Bio
Lisa Griffith
Private Studio

Chicago Chapter President        Bio
David Hoffman
Private Studio

Iowa Chapter President        Bio
Kathryn Saulsbury
Morningside College
Sioux City, Iowa

Lewis and Clark Chapter President        Bio
Deborah Vogel
Dordt College
Sioux Center, IA

St Louis Chapter President        Bio
Stella Markou
University of Missouri-St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri

Ozark Chapter President        Bio
Chris Thompson
Missouri State University
Springfield, MO

Kansas City Chapter President        Bio
Britney Rice
MidAmerica Nazarene University
Legacy School of the Arts
Olathe, KS

Designed by Scott Web Service of Wisconsin