Report: NATS/AOTOS/EVTA conference June 2023

EVTA President Susan Yarnall-Monks looks back at the successful NATS/AOTOS/EVTA joint conference in June 2023.

After 15 months of planning, many emails, Zoom calls and messages we were delighted to find ourselves in the Voces8 Centre near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It was absolutely full to bursting with 110 delegates including some voice students from Wheaton College, Illinois, our NATS friends, some EVTA members plus our British teachers of singing. There was a terrific buzz as we all shared memories of the first NATS/EVTA meeting in Berlin 4 years ago, when we all wanted to open our horizons and share ideas across the globe. So although the pandemic hit us and hurt us we were already and willing to build on the wisdom among us as this conference certainly celebrated.

Anne-Marie Speed gave a fascinating and stimulating talk on Tongue training which proved very popular and I have already used several of her ideas with students.

We then had 3 mini 15 minutes presentations which were so informative as we discovered in Berlin:

  • Miriam Allen spoke about the skills needed to teach autistic spectrum students,
  • Richard Edgar Wilson spoke about optimism and pessimism in dogs and singers to great effect,
  • and Julia Hollander on Why we sing?

Barbara Hoos de Jokisch gave a wonderful erudite lecture on what does Vocal Technique actually mean? and we are looking forward to the English translation of Barbara’s book by our very own Eleanor Forbes.

We then had 3 more mini presentations which were again all so informative:

  • Janet Munro on A hidden Disability (hyper-mobility),
  • Anupa Paul on Flex and Flow,
  • Jessie Thompson Folk-al teaching.
Sandra Oberoi and Susan Yarnall-Monks
Dr. Gillyanne Kayes, Barbara Hoos de Jokisch, Graham Welch
Karen Brunssen, Ken Bozeman

AOTOS Honorary President Sir Thomas Allen gave an inspiring and truly masterful Masterclass which had everyone enraptured with his energy and focus lifting the singers to even greater interpretations in a variety of Lieder and Operatic arias.

A delightful social followed in the pub next door where there was much conversation and enthusiastic exchange.

Sunday morning we heard from Louise Gibbs from BVA (British Voice Association) on Advancing Individuality in the Voice Studio with an interesting discussion on what is an artist and what is artistry? We then had a Pedagogy Panel with Allen Henderson, Graham Welch, Ken Bozeman, Yvonne Gonzales Redman, Dr. Gillyanne Kayes, Martin Ashley and Barbara Hoos de Jokisch.

We had another panel with Karen Brunssen, Rebecca Moseley-Morgan and Joanne Bozeman on the Ageing Voice and a panel on Vocal Health Care with Declan Costello, myself, Dr Diane Allan, Anupa Paul, Dr Jenevora Williams, Martin Ashley and Sandra Oberoi. These discussions were squeezed in between a Zoom discussion on Voice Acoustics with Ken Bozeman and David Howard and the final workshop with Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.

It was a very full and informative, cross cultural and dynamic two days. All credit to the AOTOS team who worked tirelessly and in particular to Ed Pitt-Mansfield current AOTOS Chair and NATS President Diana Allan for their inspirational planning.