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ETBU students recognized at DFW National Association of Teachers of Singing competition

April 30, 2020

Several students from East Texas Baptist University’s School of Communication and Performing Arts were recognized as winners at the Dallas/Ft Worth Area chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).


  • First-year collegiate treble division: Jael Davis - first place, Hannah Stewart - second place
  • Second-year collegiate treble division: Caitlynn Bonnett
  • Third-year collegiate treble division: Alyssa Reynolds - first place
  • Third-year collegiate TBB division: Brock Garrison
  • Fourth-year collegiate treble division: Shelby Brown
  • Lower collegiate musical theatre treble: Caitlynn Bonnett
  • Upper collegiate musical theatre treble: Shelby Brown - first place, Sarah Foster - second place

Individual voice teachers:

  • Jael Davis, Alyssa Reynolds, Brock Garrison, and Shelby Brown are students of Dr. Candice Aipperspach
  • Hannah Stewart, Caitlynn Bonnett, and Sarah Foster are students of Ms. Laurie Lee Cosby


  • Dr. Ian Aipperspach
  • Ms. Lynda Garcia

“Our students compete not only with students from ETBU peer institutions, but against students from all institutions including SMU, TCU, UNT, and other major internationally-renowned institutions in our NATS region,” ETBU Dean of School of Communication and Performing Arts Tom Webster said. “Therefore, these students have competed against and been recognized among the best in their performance divisions.”

NATS was founded in 1944 and is the largest association of teachers of singing in the world that exists to encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing. They also promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented. Traditionally, students travel to the competition location and perform a live audition. This year, students and instructors submitted video auditions to be judged online.

“NATS is a prestigious competition, especially among colleges and universities,” ETBU Assistant Professor of Music and Vocal Coordinator Dr. Candice Aipperspach said. “ETBU performing extremely well in the competition shows that our students' talent and work ethic are comparable to some of the top universities in Texas. We seek excellence in the School of Communication and Performing Arts through events such as NATS for the glory of God!”

East Texas Baptist’s Department of Music provides a diverse program of training in music that broadens students’ knowledge of musical practice. Students are taught with a Christian worldview to develop and utilize their artistic talents, and to equip and prepare graduates to enter their chosen vocations as Christian servant leaders.

“ETBU’s School of Communication and Performing Arts has been so supportive and patient during this time and I’m so honored to be apart of it,” Davis said. “I’m especially grateful for my voice lessons teacher Dr. Candice Aipperspach and accompanist Dr. Ian Aipperspach, both of them have been so vital to my growth as a musician and continuously push me to perfect the craft God has given me. I had dealt with a lot of confidence issues when I knew God called me to be a music major. Yet, the way God works is indescribable and way beyond what we can understand. Doing well at NATS reminded me to keep pushing and fighting to perfect the gift I’ve been blessed with.”

As the University adheres to the social distancing policies and procedures put in place by government officials, students are remaining vigilant in their disciplines through online skills development and learning.

“ETBU has given me an immense amount of opportunity to succeed during this difficult time. All of our professors have checked on us continuously and ensured that we were comfortable and successful in our online learning,” Brown said. “It means the world to me to have been given this honor. Music, specifically singing, has been my entire world for most of my life. This competition has helped me learn to be a better performer, a strong-willed musician, and a team player. It is truly amazing that God has given me this gift that I have been able to share for His glory!”