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Auburn University voice students took home 16 awards – including seven first-place finishes – at the recent Alabama National Association of Teachers of Singing, or NATS, auditions at the University of South Alabama in Mobile Feb. 16-17. The annual competition involves approximately 300 student singers from Alabama’s college and university music programs.

Auburn University voice students won seven classical awards. Classical winners included Patty Holley (1st place, senior women); Claudia Affan (1st place, sophomore women); Jordan Dark (1st place, freshmen women); Brandon Stephens (2nd place, freshmen men); Eliott Player (3rd place, sophomore men); Ella Welch (3rd place, freshmen women); and Jacob Verhine (4th place, junior men). Grace Moody, Mary Aynne Miller, Emily Bigler, Brianna Brooks and Faith Walker also distinguished themselves as semi-finalists.

At the music theater competition on Saturday, students picked up an additional nine awards. Music theater winners included Patty Holley (1st place, senior women); Jacob Verhine (1st place, junior men); Ella Welch (1st place, freshmen women); Brandon Stephens (1st place, freshmen men); Philip McCown (2nd place, junior men); Eliott Player (2nd place, sophomore men); Jordan Dark (3rd place, freshmen women); Claudia Affan (4th place, sophomore women); and Jarel Fryer (4th place, freshmen men). Emily Bigler and Maria Fulgham also advanced to the semi-finals.

“In my six years at Auburn University, this is the strongest showing our voice students have made at Alabama NATS Auditions,” said Matthew Hoch, associate professor of voice and coordinator of the voice area at Auburn. “Their success this past weekend is a testament to their hard work as young performers, as well as the excellent work of the voice faculty and staff accompanists within Auburn’s vocal division.”

Next month, Auburn University voice students will compete in the Southeastern Regional NATS Auditions, which encompasses the states of Georgia and Florida. This event will be hosted by Auburn University March 23-24.

“This is an outstanding recognition of our incredibly talented students,” said Joseph Aistrup, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “I know Dr. Hoch will continue to lead them to success, and I congratulate each of them on their impressive placements.”