February 21, 2018  

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Southern Miss Freshman Takes First Place at Singing Competition

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Ja’Marvae Lard, freshman vocal performance and music education double major, took home first place at the National Association of Teachers Singing Southern Region, an entity of the National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS).

The NATS Southern Region is comprised of more than 200 voice professionals from the states of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. 

The region's annual conference is held on the second weekend of November on university campuses throughout the three states. The event consists of student auditions, recitals and master classes by visiting artists from all over the country.

“Being awarded first place is a huge accomplishment for me because this is my first year doing NATS and never did I even expect to make the finals - and furthermore win,” said Lard. “This win proves that with determination and technique I can exceed any benchmark.”

Lard performed the following three selections: “Intorno all’idol mio” by Antonio Cesti, “Im Wunderschoenen Monat Mai” by Robert Schumann and “My Life’s Delight” by Roger Quilter. In the final round he performed “My Life’s Delight” by Quilter.

“When other teachers came to me with their compliments and expressions of Ja’Marvae’s wonderful singing and technique, that means the world to me; it means I’ve done something right and I’ve given him what he needed to be successful and that he able to use it well and advantageously,” said Lard’s music professor Kimberley Davis. “It means I’ve given him the tools he needed to complement or enhance his talent.”

Davis added: “My eyes filled with tears as he sang and as his name was called as the winner. It was another one for Southern Miss.”

Founded in 1944, NATS is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members in the United States and over 30 other countries.