Asbury Music Students Receive NATS Awards – Asbury University
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Asbury Music Students Receive NATS Awards

December 11, 2023

From left: Grace Monsanto ’24, Dr. Mary Ann Wilder ’03, Dr. Marie-France Duclos, Donovan Chung ’26, and Grace Chang ’25

Asbury University Music students recently received awards from the Kentucky chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Award recipients included Grace Monsanto ’24 (1st place: Senior Classical), Grace Chang ’24 (2nd place: Junior Classical), and Donovan Chung ’26 (2nd place: Sophomore Classical) with semi-finalists Trueman Livingston ’25 (Junior Musical Theater) and Gentry Osbourn ’27 (Freshman Classical). The mission of NATS is “to advance excellence in singing through teaching, performance, scholarship, and research.” Learn more:

Lecturer of Voice Dr. Marie-France Duclos and Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano Dr. Mary Ann Wilder ’03 helped the students to prepare for the competition.

“I am extremely proud of the students’ accomplishments,” Duclos said. “As their vocal teacher, I work with each student to find repertoire that fit their voices and personalities to allow them to shine. We rehearse the technical aspects of the music as well as the expressivity in the story telling, seeking to make each performance sincere and meaningful.”

“As their pianist, my primary responsibility is to be their duet partner and play the accompaniment for their pieces,” Wilder said. “However, I also coach the students through the details of their pieces, including rhythm and diction. The day of the competition, I help by calming nerves and serve as a strong support they can rely on as we make music together.”

Music majors Monsanto and Chung share about their experiences.

From left: Donovan Chung ’26, Gentry Osbourn ’27, Dr. Mary Ann Wilder ’03, Dr. Marie-France Duclos, Grace Chang ’25, Trueman Livingston ’25, and Grace Monsanto ’24

“Winning a category at NATS is something that I have been working towards since I was a freshman,” Monsanto said. “Dr. Duclos and Dr. Wilder have encouraged me to keep working and training. The prize does not matter as much as showing the progress that my teachers and mentors have helped me to achieve. Advancing to the finals and winning my category in NATS is a confirmation that I am doing what God has set out before me.”

“My main piece for the competition was ‘Give Me Jesus’ arranged by Moses Hogan,” Chung said. “It was my first time going to NATS and my first time performing classical music in front of an audience. The experience was wonderful. I hope to go again in the spring.”

Asbury’s Music Department continues to provide students with opportunities to develop their vocal abilities. In November, as part of the Opera Workshop class, students performed Dido and Aeneas, a Baroque English Opera directed by Duclos.

“Performing opera roles is critical in a young singer’s development, and I find that it always helps students open up their voices and improve their vocal techniques,” Duclos said.

The Asbury University Music Department offers a Music major (with emphases in composition and arranging, instrumental performance, pre-music therapy, vocal performance, and church music leadership), a Music Education major (with emphases in general music education, instrumental music education, vocal/choral education, and combined instrumental/vocal education), and a Music minor. Learn more: