Sullivan shines as Singer of the Year at West Central NATS Student Auditions

Sullivan shines as Singer of the Year at West Central NATS Student Auditions

calendar icon05 Nov 2013    

Nathaniel Sullivan
Nathaniel Sullivan

The Glenn Korff School of Music once again had a strong showing at the West Central NATS (The National Association of the Teachers of Singing) Student Auditions this past weekend, capped by Nathaniel Sullivan being named Singer of the Year. There were 332 student entries with 39 schools entering students in the two-day event at Emporia State University.

“It’s a lot of singing packed into a short amount of time and then you are waiting for hours and hours,” Sullivan said about the event. “Then it’s a lot of singing and a lot of stress. Everyone is scrambling to get a practice room to warm up and to get to their correct room and then there is waiting again. Then they announce finals and you are scrambling again to get a practice room and then you are singing and waiting. It is bursts of energy and a lot of sitting and waiting.”

Sullivan said the amount of singing you do depends on how many categories you are performing in. There is a classical category and also a musical theater category at the regional level. He said one can opt to do one or both of those and within each category they break it up by class.

“You sing three pieces for the classical and three pieces for the musical theater for the preliminary round. Then in the semifinal and final round you pick one of those to sing for each. I did both.”

And he also came out in first place in both (first in classical senior men as well as first in junior & senior men in musical theatre).

“It was fun,” Sullivan said. “It was a chance to hang out with friends yet exhausting. There is just so much packed into two days. Then the four hours of driving on both ends of it. I feel really good about the weekend.”

 Sullivan, a senior vocal performance major, grew up in the Quad Cities and a combination of things brought him to the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  

 “It was on my list of schools and I first heard about it because of the International Thespian Festival. We came here the summer between my junior and senior year. I loved the campus. I thought it was beautiful. Then my choir teacher in high school knew Pete Eklund and he set me up with a phone call with Pete. I auditioned for the theater school and the music school on the same weekend. I got into both. I talked to Alisa (Belflower) after the auditions and told her my interests. She said I think this would be a great place for you to come. So I took some lessons with her over the summer and decided to come here.”

 All of the hard work and dedication led him to the Singer of the Year honor.

 “I can tell you what I’ve observed from past singer of the year performances is that there is a willingness to do a variety of styles, not one specific way with one specific voice,” Sullivan said. “You obviously have to have the technique down. You can have all of those things and do them well but what they really look for is something beyond the technique. You are a character. You are making choices, strong choices. You are presenting art, music, not just a technique. They are connected to what they are singing. They are willing to be vulnerable.”

 Everyone can have a chance to see Sullivan just as he described as Sid in Albert Herring this weekend at Kimball Recital Hall too.

 “I’m having a blast with it,” Sullivan said. “It’s so fun. The cast is just a really good great of people. We all get along. We all jive really well together. Bill (Shomos, director) is great! The orchestra has been awesome. Everyone is really prepared. It’s been a fun experience. I’m really looking forward to it.”


Other West Central NATS results from the Glenn Korff School of Music include (UNL had 35 awards and 19 semifinalist):

First-year women – 1, Alexis Prothman; 2, Kathleen Johnson; Semi-finalist, Natalie Frahm

First-year men – 3, Sebastian Sorsensen; 4, Thomas Stoysich; Semi-finalist, Joe Fitzgerald

Sophomore women – 1, Jacqueline Goering; 3, Katelyn Geary; Semi-finalists, Kourtlin Churchman, Angela Gilbert

Sophomore men – 1, David Ricart; 2, (tie) Jeremy Brown, Kyle DeFauw; Semi-finalists, Konnor Davis, Eric Marstens, Luke Messmer, Garreth Soto

Junior women – 2, Gretchen Pile; 3, Angela Gilbert; 4, Rebecca Duncan; Semi-finalists, Kourtlin Churchman, Kaitlin Pearson

Junior men – 1, Braden Foreman; 2, Andrew Ritchie; 3, Robert Klein

Senior women – 2, Kamerin Churchman; 3, Jenny Smith; Semi-finalists, Emily Solo

Senior men – 1, Nathaniel Sullivan; 5, Brian Jeffers

Graduate women – 1, Kayla Wilkens; 4, Katie Mersch; 5, Jacqueline Josten; Semi-finalist, Jamie Unger

Non-Traditional Students – 1, Katie Pacza

First-year and sophomore women in musical theatre – 2, Jacqueline Goering; 3, Alexis Prothman; 5, Brittany Albin; Semi-finalist, Connor Meuret

First-year and sophomore men in musical theatre – 1, Jeremy Brown; 3, Sebastian Sorensen; Semi-finalists, Konnor Davis, Kyle DeFauw, Luke Messmer

Junior and senior women in musical theatre – 2, (tie) Kamerin Churchman, Kourtlin Churchman; 3, Angela Gilbert; 4, Rebecca Duncan

Junior and senior men in musical theatre – 1, Nathaniel Sullivan; 5, Brian Jeffers; Semi-finalists, Trent Buglewicz, Nolan Henkle, Cody Meyer

Collaborative pianists – Michael Cotton, Anna DeGraff, Graham House, Kurt Knecht, Trevor Magness, Denis Plutalov, Liz Stauffer, Anika Top, Cristina Vlad, David von Kampen