Spring 2017 Newsletter


Dear SFBAC NATS Members:

We are so thrilled to have each of you as a member of our chapter. We believe that you bring something important and significant to our organization.

I would first like to acknowledge the team of teachers that make our singing festivals a great success. I am thrilled to work alongside these individuals and witness firsthand how committed they are to the art and education of singers. Unless you have jumped in and helped with these activities it’s hard to imagine how diligently they work. The planning up to the event, the set-up, registration, hosting, clean-up takes hours of labor. We all as participating teachers gain from the work of a few.

We need you on our team of leaders. There are openings on the board, there is volunteer positions, there is fund raising, and many other ways to help.
I understand how busy we all are. I teach singing for four organizations and work 70 hours almost every week. But this organizations is well worth your time and investment.
Please consider taking a board position, volunteering or donating.

If you need clarity on what we need or board responsibilities contact me personally,

David Anthony Dehner, DMA
President SFBAC NATS

Here’s an interview with David Dehner published by the National Association for Music Educators regarding his Grammy Nomination



by Theresa Cardinale and Pamela Hicks
Singing Festival Co-directors

We are very pleased to report that both of our 2016-17 SFBAC-NATS Singing Festivals at CSUEB in Hayward were resounding successes.  The Musical Theatre/Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Festival held last November drew 185 auditions and the Classical Festival this March had 244 auditions.

This is the first year separating the Festival into two events and the consensus was overwhelmingly positive. The reduction in size made Festival registration and preparation easier, with students and teachers better able to focus on each event. And with more manageable numbers the festival days were shortened, a welcome change for all! We are very enthusiastic about this new format and all the teachers who sent students. We had the largest turnout of chapter members for the Spring Classical Festival. There was a very gratifying sense of camaraderie throughout the day. And so much wonderful singing!

The Singing Festival is always a work in progress with efforts being made to make things run smoothly. Just to name a few things for example, with the separation of events we had to figure out how the awards would work. Ultimately we set up a separate set of awards for the Music Theatre/CCM event and kept the previous awards the same for the classical event. Also we organized a more equitable distribution of awards in the high school category. We worked on further training and understanding of the adjudication process. For the future, we are planning to institute a discount for qualified college students, and to speed up the processing and mailing of the certificates and checks packets, and make sure the registration table is supplied with all it needs to be to be the information hub for parents and students. We will be trying to clarify further the rules regarding “Off-Broadway”. Also we’re always trying to improve the online registration process.

We did decide on a few hard and fast rules also such as no refunds will be given after the schedule is sent out unless we are notified of a conflict ahead of time. Also no repertoire changes will be allowed after vetting is complete. We can only offer students to sing for comments only at that point. That may seem hard-nosed but the reason is that it is just too much work for us organizers to handle these details after the schedule has been set.

The success of this event was due to a great team effort. We thank everyone who participated and helped out in so many ways. A special shout-out to our online registration manager and IT guy Justin Plank. He just knows how to make things happen. And to the members who put in a lot of time and effort to whom we are very thankful: Kathy Ludowise (Rules Consultant, Repertoire Vetting and Stage Manager), Katie Tupper (Pianist Coordinator MT/CCM Rep Vetting, and Final Round Tallier), Christine Abraham (Volunteer Coordinator), Wendy Hillhouse (Repertoire Vetting and Registration), Jacque Scharlach (Food Coordinator) Diane Squires (Final Round Coordinator), Raymond Salazar, (Packet Preparation and Mailing), Abbey Seeterlin (Registration). Thank you to our president David Dehner who helped in many ways throughout the day. Much appreciation also goes out to everyone who helped in the tally room, especially Angelique Zuluaga.

We have the dates for the upcoming Singing Festivals. Please mark your calendars.

Saturday November 4, 2017:
Fall Musical Theatre/CCM Singing Festival.

Saturday March 3, 2018:
Spring Classical Singing Festival.

Stay tuned for more information.



I enjoyed returning to California State University, Fresno on March 30 to give an extended lecture on The Songs of Franz Schubert for the vocal performance majors’ vocal literature class. I emphasized building a recital using one composer and a theme for each group of songs, such as Stars, Water, Love, and Women in Literature. For musical examples, I used recordings from earlier Schubert recitals I performed with Hatem Nadim and Steven Gray in San Francisco and Palo Alto. Introducing the students to lesser-known Schubert Lieder encouraged them to explore new repertoire for their upcoming senior recitals.

I also gave a master class on The Golden Rules of Singing based on my 50+ years of studies with teachers and mentors including Phyllis Curtin, Elly Ameling, Louise Toth, Hans Hotter, Walter Berry, Donald Stenburg, Dietrich Erbeling, and others included in my memoir Journey of a Voice Teacher. I was excited to see the students respond so positively to the fundamental principles of singing passed down to me from my beloved teachers.

In 2015, I officially retired as professor emerita of music, voice and opera, from California State University, Fresno, where I taught for 28 years, oversaw the vocal department, and directed the opera program. My professional documents, recordings, career chronicles, and teaching materials are now housed in the Special Collections at Fresno State Madden Library. While I miss teaching at Fresno State, I am enjoying residing in the Bay Area full time and having the opportunity to coach young professionals and give master classes.

As a former Northern California NATS Governor and a founding member of the Central California Chapter, I look forward to becoming more involved again in our SFBA Chapter. My email address is helenej@mail.fresnostate.edu


Minutes will be distributed after the meeting.



Click here for more information.