The VASTA Voice

Volume 13, Issue 2

MAY 2018

Table of Contents:

A Message from the President

Betty Moulton

Betty Moulton

Happy spring and fall- I don’t know what the weather has been like where you are, but I am currently braving a huge and gusty wind storm in southern Ontario, Canada - crazy weather days…..

All is moving along with VASTA:

*The Seattle conference is shaping up to provide wonderful opportunities for collaboration between VASTA and PAVA members
*The new Member-Sponsored Appreciation Award has been awarded to Artemis Preeshl, who recently served VASTA greatly as our treasurer 
*The Clyde Vinson Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to early career member Sylvie Lui
*The Irene Ryan award has been given at the Kennedy Centre American College Theatre Festival after another great master class given by Kim Bey 
*The ‘Overview of VASTA’ committee has met over the past year to look at positive options for managing our growing organization the best way possible for our members 
*A new initiative in Mentoring is on its way

So as you can see, your volunteer board and committee members and officers have been busy with these new initiatives and the ongoing business of the association. There is an election underway to replace 3 board members. Please vote when the email comes your way! When members agree to stand for election, they are taking on a number of responsibilities to oversee policy decisions, connect with specified committees, carry out the association’s administration and generally dream of the best actions we can take to advocate for and promote members’ careers in this exciting field.

We are always eager to hear from members on any topic related to VASTA - new ideas are generated often from an informal chat at a related conference, a meeting with colleagues or a friendly email. Please consider how you might become more involved in any way, from our day-to-day or our yearly activities. You are always welcome to participate fully in our association. As I have said before, check out the website and our Facebook page, VASTA’s Voices, frequently to see news of activities, awards and other opportunities.

I hope to see many of you at the Seattle conference in August!


Betty Moulton


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Letter from the Editor

Lauren Murphy Yeoman 

Hello out there, VASTA!

It's an honor to take the torch from the inimitable Lisa Nathans and become the new Editor for The VASTA Voice, and also to pass my Associate Editor torch to our new Associate Editor - allow me to introduce Hollace Starr! Welcome, Hollace.

You can learn a little more about Hollace in the new associate introduction found below. Please also take a look at Hollace's member news introduction, as this blurb contains information about member news submissions for future issues. 

For those of you that may be new to VASTA, a reminder that The VASTA Voice newsletter is currently being released four times a year (February, May, August, and November). Within each issue you will find Committee and Conference Updates, Individual Member News Updates, and rotating articles from contributors like our VASTA MD and Freelance Coaches. Should you have an idea for an article, or even possibly a new column for the newsletter, please email me your suggestions at

This issue contains a VASTA MD column on "Vocal Fold Paresis, Glottic Closure Problem, Vocal Fold Bowing," and the recipients of the VASTA Member–Sponsored Appreciation Award and the Clyde Vinson Memorial Scholarship, in addition to updates about the Seattle Conference and VASTA at ATHE. You will also find an original article in the Freelance Coaching Column about "How Colleges Set Voice Majors Up for Pedagogical Failure," submitted by VASTA member Meredith Colby.

I look forward to corresponding with you over the rest of 2018, and hopefully seeing you in person in Seattle!

Many thanks, 

Lauren Murphy Yeoman 

Editor, The VASTA Voice


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New Associate Introduction

Hollace Starr


I'm Hollace Starr, and I'm thrilled to be serving as the new Associate Editor of The VASTA Voice.

I'm a director, actor, and teacher in the Los Angeles area. I'm an Associate Professor of Theatre and the Head of Voice and Movement at Pepperdine University, and a Designated Linklater Voice teacher.  At Pepperdine, I've done the voice and dialect coaching for South Pacific, Heritage by Nicola McCartney, Crazy for You, the award-winning show The Interference, and others. 

I taught voice for many years at the Actors Studio, where I'm a lifetime member. I'm a founding member of Rogue Machine Theatre Company and on the board of Trade City Productions, which operates Los Angeles’ very first mobile theatre truck.

I cannot wait to read what you are all creating and share it as part of the Member News section!

My best,

Hollace Starr

Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice


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Yolanda D. Heman-Ackah, MD

Vocal Fold Paresis, Glottic Closure Problem, Vocal Fold Bowing:  

What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?


There is one basic truth to voice production, and that is that the vocal folds need to touch each other when they vibrate in order to produce a normal voice.  When there is a space between them, there is a constant escape of air from the lungs during phonation, which makes the voice sound breathy, limits the volume the vocal folds can create, and typically causes the voice to tire easily.  There are varying reasons why vocal folds may not touch completely during phonation, and these include a weakness (or paresis) of one or both vocal folds, bowing of the vocal folds, aging of the vocal folds (which causes atrophy and bowing), a congenital sulcus (or groove) in the vocal fold, scarring of the vocal fold, or mass effect from a mass (such as a nodule, polyp, cyst, or tumor) on the vocal fold.  There are some other neurologic conditions that can cause intermittent incomplete closure of the vocal folds and there are some psychological conditions and habitual ways of talking that can hold the vocal folds apart – the difference with these and the former group is that the vocal fold is capable of closing completely in this latter group.

The art of voice care is still a relatively new field of medicine.  As a result, there is still a lot to be learned about why and how things happen in the larynx the way they do as well as what is “pathological” (or disease) and what is a variation on normal.  It is extremely common for one vocal fold to be stronger than the other (and conversely for one vocal fold to be weaker than the other).  Some people are born this way, and some acquire this weakness later in life.  When the weakness is acquired, it is usually thought of as being pathologic (i.e. from a disease state such as a viral illness, Lyme disease, thyroid disease, tumor, diabetes, etc.).  It is not always easy for the physician to tell when they see an individual with a weak vocal fold and a glottic gap whether or not that weakness is new or old or whether or not it is pathologic or part of the individual’s constitution.  There are some individuals who teach themselves how to use their vocal mechanism to compensate for the weakness or glottic gap, and there are some individuals who no matter how hard they try, are unable to compensate for the weakness and suffer tremendously with vocal fatigue and effortful phonation.  Sometimes voice teachers and voice therapists can help bridge the gap.  Sometimes they can’t.  When therapy doesn’t work, usually surgery to close the gap will provide tremendous relief for the individual.  Patients sometimes get confused because one voice doctor may call a glottic closure problem “vocal fold paresis” where another may call it “vocal fold bowing” and another may simply call it a “glottic closure problem”.  There is no consensus among the voice professionals in the medical community what to call this issue.  An analogy is that of poor eyesight.  There are very few people with 20/20 vision.  Most people require the use of eyeglasses at some point in their life. Some people are born with poor vision and others acquire it later in life.  Eye doctors consider 20/20 vision “normal” despite the fact that the average person does not have “normal” vision.  Some people with 20/40 vision get along fine without the use of eyeglasses.  Others with 20/40 vision develop severe headaches and are unable to function without the use of eyeglasses.  Some decide to have LASIK surgery to correct their vision.  This is the paradox of vocal fold paresis.  When a nerve conduction study (electromyography or laryngeal EMG) is done, many people with “glottic closure problems” will show signs of paresis.  Not every physician will feel the need to perform laryngeal EMG, especially when it is obvious on examination that the vocal folds do not close completely.  The reason:  regardless of the reason why the vocal folds don’t close completely, the way to treat the problem is to get the vocal folds closer together and to improve the efficiency of vocal production.  Voice therapy  helps with improving the efficiency of vocal production.  When voice therapy doesn’t work or if the glottic gap is too big for voice therapy to work, surgical options are explored.  The goal of surgery is to physically move the vocal folds closer together, either by bulking them up with injectable fillers or by pushing them closer together with implants.  It is important for the individual who is having difficulty, though, to not get too caught up in the semantics of what one physician or another calls the “glottic closure problem”, but to seek treatment to close the gap with a physician who recognizes the gap as a problem.


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Committee Chair Updates

Awards and Grants Committee

Committee Chair: Barry Kur











Artemis Preeshl shot

The VASTA  Awards, Grants and Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce that Artemis Preeshl is the inaugural recipient  of the VASTA Member–Sponsored Appreciation Award.   Artemis is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Performing Arts, Elon University.  Erica Tobloski, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina nominated her.   This monetary award will provide the registration fee for the 2018 Annual VASTA Conference in Seattle, Washington.  

The funding for this award is provided by member donations. You may donate via the VASTA web site or during the 2018 Conference.

The Awards, Grants and Scholarship Committee encourages all to be aware of this opportunity to nominate deserving members and is appreciative of those who submitted nominations.



Sylvie Lui shot

The VASTA Awards and Grants Committee is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2018 Clyde Vinson Memorial Scholarship is Sylvie Lui of London (formerly, Canada). Sylvie was nominated by Alison Matthews.

Sylvie has appointments at many institutions throughout London.  Alison’s nomination stated, 

“…she has developed into a voice teacher with a strong ability to develop inspiring relationships with her students. Her specialised understanding of inter-culturalism in the classroom is particularly distinctive and productive with the current issues that are surfacing in our industry in both Canada and the UK. 

Sylvie is also now the main voice coach and workshop researcher/facilitator at the London-based charity, Shout At Cancer, where she helps people who have undergone laryngectomy surgeries (due to throat cancer) re-learn to speak and sing with their new voices. This advocacy work is one of many examples of her understanding of and dedication to the value of voice training throughout our broader society.”

This scholarship includes: 

• one year free membership
          • up to $500 for travel to the 2018 VASTA Conference

 • waiver of conference fee
                • $500 award

The Committee appreciated the applications received. They represented many early-career VASTA members who bring great promise of continued integrity and growth to our profession.


A note from Barry Kur:

 As Chair of the Awards and Scholarship Committee, VASTA Member Katie Bull sent me a wonderful email that she has granted me permission to share through our newsletter.  When she noticed we had a scholarship honoring Clyde Vinson, she was compelled to tell me of her great experiences working with Clyde as a young actor in training.  This scholarship was the first endowment established by VASTA in the early 90’s when I served on the board of directors. This letter reinforces the purpose of this scholarship, which supports early-career voice professionals and reinforces the reason for Clyde Vinson's legacy to be honored.

Dear Mr. Kur,
I hope this finds you well. I just recently renewed my membership in VASTA (schedule prohibits my attending conferences but I deeply appreciate the research writing and community), and as a result saw the Clyde Vinson memorial scholarship info. I wanted to simply share a memory of Clyde, who was my first voice coach when I started training in 1978! 
I was a freshman, and a young singer in the Music division of SUNY Purchase (16 years old) transferring into Theater Arts for acting; this set a new precedent as transferring within the conservatories was not previously allowed at that time. I had to audition in the middle of my first semester of freshman year, and, once I was given approval to transfer into the second semester, I was asked by Chuck Jones, who was then the head of voice at SUNY Purchase, to use the J Term to study voice with Vinson in Manhattan, which I did!  I went to Clyde's apartment regularly that winter.  I remember his incredibly sonorous, deeply chest resonant voice and his human warmth. And, I distinctly remember the extraordinary ring he wore on his finger, which had a snake coiled around a large blue gemstone. I remember him pointing the snake and gem on his finger towards the sky, encouraging me to send sound in that skyward direction, from my whole body. The sky was the actual sky. He would open his window and have me look towards the skyline! He would also have me imagine I was using a bow and arrow to send vibration towards targets, and we explored the notion of targets and intentional vocal focus. These were such foundational moments for a young woman! I have other memories of Clyde which I could share, but this one stands out the most, as well as his gentle hand on my belly as simple encouragement to let go and let breath in more deeply. 
It was very snowy back then in winter; I remember arriving to voice lessons with Clyde feeling cold, and leaving, very warm. Thanks to you - or to whom-ever - for creating this Clyde Vinson scholarship fund. He was a truly great voice coach. I would be happy to contribute to the scholarship fund in the future in some modest way.
Most Sincerely,
Katie Bull


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Still time to apply for the High School Teacher Award!

VASTA High School Teacher Award:

Each year, VASTA offers a conference scholarship to help one or two high school (or middle school/junior high) drama teachers who are interested in learning more about voice and speech. The scholarship includes a conference fee waiver and a scholarship amount to be applied toward travel expenses. The amount of scholarship will depend on how many applicants are chosen in a given year.

The application process varies depending on the conference location. To find out how to apply for a specific year, contact the VASTA president at Please send inquiries well in advance of the deadline for completed applications: June 30th 2018 for attending the 2018 Seattle joint conference with VASTA and the Pan American Vocology Association (PAVA).

Deadline:  June 30, 2018

The application form is on the VASTA website under 'Resources/Awards,Grants and Scholarships':


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Diversity Committee

Committee Chair: Cynthia DeCure









I am looking forward to seeing you at the 2018 VASTA/PAVA Joint Conference. Thank you to all who applied for the Diversity and International scholarship. All scholarship recipients will be notified later this month and announced in the next newsletter.

For all attending the conference, please join us for the Diversity Committee’s 5th Annual Identity Cabaret, which will be held on Sunday, August 12th at the Cornish Playhouse from 7-9pm. This year’s cabaret will be emceed by the wonderful Judy Shahn. If you are interested in performing (a song, poetry, story, spoken word, etc.), please email me at Performance slots are limited; the time allotted for each performance is 3-5 minutes. 

Also, for all interested in Diversity and Inclusion "best practices" for teaching and coaching, we will be holding a meeting to gather ideas via Zoom on Friday, June 1, at 10am (PST). If you would like to attend this meeting, or have suggestions to include for our best practices, please email me and I will send you the Zoom link for the meeting.

The committee’s list of best practices will be shared with the full membership later this year. 

Abrazos y adelante!

Cynthia DeCure


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Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Committee Chair: Colton Weiss

Colton Weiss headshot









Dear VASTAns,


Hello from the Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee!  Over the past few months, the Committee sent representatives to KCACTF festivals. We hope to hear from award winners about their student membership experiences. If you would like to share your thoughts, please contact us.


The Committee has been busy revising the Interdisciplinary Engagement Grant outline. Check out the updated grant information, and send in applications. Applications are accepted throughout the year.


With the VASTA/PAVA conference coming up soon, we would like to invite you to the Committee’s lunch meeting. Keep an eye on the conference schedule for specific details. We are always looking for members to get involved and help expand our work. If you are interested in joining the Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee, please send a message to  


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Teaching and Learning Committee

Committee Chair: Diane Robinson

The Teaching and Learning Committee has no updates for this issue. 

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Global Communications Group

Committee Chair: Daron Oram

Daron Oram headshot









I’d like to introduce myself to those of you that don’t know me. My name is Daron Oram and I am the chair of the Global Communications Group. You will notice that this is a new title for what was formally the International Committee. We have changed the name of the committee in recognition the growing global reach of VASTA’s membership. The conference that was held at LASALLE in Singapore last year was a truly global event. The international committee, as it was then, held a meeting, which included members from South Africa, South, Central and North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. At this meeting we began to discuss the implications of our name and our aspirations for VASTA. The group felt strongly that being called the International Committee gave a sense that VASTA was a North American organisation that did outreach in a colonial fashion into the rest of the world. This did not sit well at a conference where the atmosphere felt truly global and not dominated by a North American cultural framework. I have been a member of VASTA for twelve years and have noticed the positive growth of the organisation and now really feels like the time to recognise this. So, over the months following the meeting we had discussions with colleagues across the world and the new name of Global Communications Group was conceived. 


Apart from the allure of the slightly alliterative title we felt it was important to move from the formal dynamics indicated by the use of the word ‘committee’. We have also rewritten the terms of reference for the group to reflect our desire for global sharing and discussion. The new terms on the website now read. ‘The Global Membership Group is committed to increasing the dialogue between the members of the global voice community.  Through this dialogue, we are all able to reflect and expand our awareness of both our own practices and our students' diverse needs, in addition to working towards greater inclusivity on a professional and academic level.  Through diverse initiatives, we seek to share VASTA's resources and support with a wider community and in turn, share the gifts and insight from that community to enrich VASTA.’


As we move forward, we will be looking at how we can support regional networks and dialogue across our community. We will be supporting the development of future conferences beyond North America and helping VASTA to grow into its increasingly global role. We are more than happy to hear from members who would like to get involved in the group, especially in underrepresented areas of the world. Please also share ideas that you think the group might be able to get involved in. In the future, I am hoping to use this section of the VASTA Voice to showcase some of the work of our global members so that we can all share in some of the wonderful work that is happening around the world.


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Business and Corporate Consulting (BizCorp) Committee

Committee Chairs: Dolly May & Kendra Kingsbury




The Business and Corporate Consulting Committee (BizCorp) is up and running and we are excited to share what we've been busy putting into the works!

First of all, at the helm of our committee is Dolly May joined by Kendra Kingsbury to co-chair this innovative and forward-thinking committee. 

Next, we want to bring your awareness to VASTA's website. Under "Membership" and then "Members' Only Resources" you will now see a BizCorp tab. This tab is the key to following along with everything BizCorp has planned and is offering.

BizCorp is proud to announce an amazing new membership perk! Starting in October, BizCorp will hold TWO 1-hour training sessions each month called Lighthouse Training Sessions and Testing Ground Sessions. 

In the meantime, join us for our next BizCorp Training Session:

Topic: Who is Your Client? Identifying who you want to work with and how to attract them.
Host: Dolly May
Duration: 1 hour
*Date and Time: Tuesday, 12 June 4pm to 5pm GMT+1
*Please note that session dates and times vary from time zone to time zone, so please see the Doodle for all other time conversions
A Zoom link will be emailed to you 24 hours before the session. If you do not receive a confirmation email, or if you have any questions, please reach out to Co-Chairs Dolly May and Kendra Kingsbury at

BizCorp holds monthly training sessions which are free to all current members of VASTA. You must be a current member of to attend these trainings, please renew your membership before attending the training.

All BizCorp trainings are recorded and available for VASTA members via the Google Drive.


LIGHTHOUSE TRAINING SESSIONS will be dedicated learning sessions on a wide variety of topics in the realm of private/corporate coaching. If you have any specific questions at any time, please go to and fill out and submit the form.
TESTING GROUND SESSIONS will be a safe place to test out/practice a new idea, pitch, project, form, proposal, etc. and receive collective input and feedback from the group. To make these 1-hour trainings purposeful, the hour will be structured in 15-minute time slots and will be available for VASTAN's to pre-book each month.


Another amazing thing BizCorp is taking on this year is forming a Conference Planning Subcommittee. Since the jobs of the Conference Director and Associate Conference Director are so big, we thought having a committee to back the director would be thrilling. The hope is to test out and see how a subcommittee could work over the next 2 years and see if that's the route VASTA would like to go.



Want to be put on BizCorp's emailing list for trainings and other news?

Have a question for an expert?

Have an idea for a training you'd like to attend or host?

Want to learn more about the Conference planning Subcommittee?

Then fill out and submit our form at


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Freelance Coaching Column

Article submitted by Meredith Colby


You've Been Boondoggled:

How Colleges Set Voice Majors Up for Pedagogical Failure


Many graduates of university programs in voice, notably those with degrees in vocal performance, voice and speech, and acting, become self-employed. We soldier forward into our area of interest with the intent to be professionals. We avoid the 9-to-5 so we can pursue our art. Often we cobble together a living from two or three (or more) different professional roles. Teaching is nearly always one of them. 

Winging It

Typically, we come to our self-employed status with little or no training on how to be self-employed professionals. We start taking private students in singing, speech, or acting because of the flexibility it affords us. We carry with us our own experiences as students, and the models our own teachers showed us. Our teaching is, however conscious of it we are, informed strongly by the teaching we received. We create an environment in our own studios based on the way we were, or were not, treated by our teachers. We carry forward the values and emphases we learned as students because we were taught that those are correct. 

Among the many subjects pertaining to being self-employed educators that are not addressed in our post-secondary education is that of the pedagogical differences between our situations as self-employed professionals and our college instructors’ situations as university employees. I believe that being conscious of those differences can make self-employed teachers more effective educators, as well as help us take full advantage of our unique position in the world of the arts.

Top Down, Outside In

Private lessons in college are created with a top-down, outside-in model. Top down, because the knowledge transfer is assumed to flow in one direction; from the teacher to the student. Outside in, because the knowledge being shared is defined and structured, and is meant to be understood within the framework presented.

The college teacher is charged with educating a student on a particular subject, and by necessity, a limited version of that subject. A tiny sliver of the knowledge pie. Though the student is technically paying the teacher for her time, it was the university that made the sale, and it’s the program that the student has the relationship with. So, to get the credits, the student studies with the teacher whether she wants to or not. Whether or not she agrees with, likes, or feels respected by the teacher is of no consequence to the grading process. It’s a top-down model, and it’s up to the student to acquire the knowledge that the teacher is presenting in order to get a good grade. That knowledge may be strongly at odds with the student’s experience, so if she’s not cognizant of the framework within which she’s working, the student may struggle with cognitive dissonance, as well as with trusting her experience, her teacher, and the institution itself.

A Typical Situation

Let’s explore Sonya’s college private voice lesson experience, for example. Sonya sang in a band in high school. She was in the school musicals and the acapella ensemble. She’s a good singer who appreciates good singers. She loves Jesse Mueller, Sarah Bareilles, and Jennifer Hudson. She’s been accepted into a music theater degree program, and is taking private voice lessons as part of her degree requirement. Sonya’s applied voice teacher is classically trained, and teaches classical technique. She knows it as the correct way to sing, and has been teaching according to classical tenets, which inform her own methods, for her entire university career. Her belief that classical singing is both foundational and correct, along with the security of her job and the employment structure within which she works, has kept her from actively seeking to understand the differences between classical and contemporary voice methods and aesthetics. So she’s teaching Sonya classical voice, and Sonya is freaking out. Sonya is confused, she doesn’t like this repertoire, and for the first time in her young life she feels incompetent as a singer. Because she’s intimately familiar with the aesthetics of contemporary musical genres, she knows that much of what her voice teacher is presenting to her as absolute is not, in fact, applicable to the music she loves. Rather than growing from the experience of studying voice, she’s protecting herself against it  and doing the absolute minimum that is required of her to get a passing grade. The best case is that she is wasting her time and her money; the worst that, in order to meet her teacher’s expectations, she’s creating compensatory vocal habits that could hurt her in the long run.

The fact that university education is outside-in is largely inherent. The students must achieve grades to earn a degree, the teachers much present clear objectives to achieve those grades. University professors are experts in their fields. Their job as teachers is to impart that information as effectively as they can. They are neither expected nor required to alter their curricula or approaches based on differences between individual students.

Lateral Teaching

The self-employed teacher, conversely, does not enjoy the luxuries of the university instructor. Her students are not on a degree track, but are studying for their own growth and self-improvement. They’re spending their own money and valuable time, and are often studying with a self-defined objective in mind. The teacher must attract each student, and will be paid only for the lessons she teaches. She must respond to the student’s objectives professionally and effectively, or that student will seek out a different teacher. 

These realities create a very different teaching environment. The self-employed teacher’s relationship with her students is primarily lateral, meaning that the student’s knowledge and desires are at least as important as the teacher’s. The teacher is in a position which requires her to be aware of, and responsive to, the students’ objectives for their study.

The First Step’s a Doozy

Of the many ways in which the new college grad is unprepared to be self-employed, pedagogy is one of them. Regardless of the objectives with which the young voice major entered college, she received classical voice training. That’s what she knows, and that’s what she thinks she’ll teach because, after all, good singing is good singing. But once among the self-employed, she realizes that the overwhelming number of people who come to her for private voice lessons have no interest in or aspirations for classical voice. They want to learn how to sing with a contemporary style. The teacher, both because she cannot sing that way and because she still believes that CCM technique is damaging to the voice, is unable to sell what her students want to buy. 

This scenario is repeated thousands of times each year, as young college grads, vocal performance degrees in hand, hang their shingle on their new voice studios. Often the road from having a very high student turnover to finding a way to teach what their students want to learn is very rocky. Many self-employed teachers survive because they become humble. They embrace the personal growth inherent in lateral teaching, and seek out teachers of healthy CCM pedagogy, learning to appreciate and enjoy the differences between it and classical. 

In a Dream World

Although there’s little incentive for college and university arts departments and schools to consider the employment future of their applied voice (and music theater performance) students, it would be a boon to those students if they were to do so. The truth is that, save for a miniscule percentage of those that “make it,” those who make a living in the world of performing arts will teach. At least in part. Colleges and universities could easily serve their students by acknowledging this reality, and helping build applied arts curricula that incorporate some of the skills necessary for artists to pay their rent. At the very least, simply being armed with an awareness of some of the realities of being self-employed can help artists make the most of the advantages, and minimize the disadvantages, offered by the freelance life.


Meredith Colby is a Chicago-based voice teacher, and author of "Money Notes: How to Sing High, Loud, Healthy, and Forever." Subscribe to her monthly newsletter for independent voice teachers at Contact her for speaking and training at


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Conference and Membership Updates

Kate Clarke                                                                                                               Rachel Hirshorn-Johnston 

Conference Directors:

Marci Rosenberg (PAVA)

Kate Clarke & Rachel Hirshorn-Johnston (VASTA)






VASTA Conference- Soma and Science:

Bridging the Gap in Interdisciplinary Voice Training





Welcome and reminders from your 2018 VASTA/PAVA Conference Planners! 


Hello everybody!  We hope you’ve been following all of our exciting updates on social media, but in case you missed it…we have one FABULOUS joint conference in the works for this August!



Registration is now open!  Click HERE and receive our Early Bird discount (a $50 savings) now through the end of May. Also (and this is pretty awesome), current VASTA and PAVA members will receive a one-year reciprocal membership with your registration fee!



Our theme this year is “Soma & Science: Bridging the Gap in Interdisciplinary Voice Training”, and we are grateful to have nearly 100 unique presentations (that’s 100 unique individual lead presenters!) whose proposals creatively embody this theme.

Due to our record number of proposal submissions...YOU are our KEY NOTE SPEAKERS!  Every one of you! A final schedule of events and programming will be shared soon (like, super soon) and posted on the VASTA website and on Social Media. This is promising to be a beautifully collaborative event; rich in artistry, scientific discovery, and networking for planning future projects together.  And all of this is happening with a Mt Rainier backdrop!



If you haven’t already, please check out our Welcome Packet on the VASTA website HERE.  You’ll find lots of helpful travel tips and excursion suggestions, as well as accommodation recommendations. PLEASE BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS ASAP! August in Seattle, WA is the peak of tourist season!

NEW:  We have secured additional dorm housing (averaging around $60/night) at Seattle University.  Please factor in a 40-minute commute via public transportation/taxi to reach Cornish Playhouse from Seattle University, each way. To book, click HERE.


Coffee?  Yes, please!  We promise you the best of all that Seattle has to offer throughout the duration of our conference with quality snack breaks, catered events, live entertainment, cocktail parties, and an easy-breezy walk to iconic Seattle sites such as the Seattle Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and many others!  Stay tuned!    


Questions?  Please drop us a line!

Rachel Hirshorn-Johnston * Kate Clarke * Marci Rosenberg

Your 2018 VASTA/PAVA Joint Conference Planners

Seattle, Washington  August 11-14, 2018


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New Mentorship Initiative Launching at the Seattle Conference!

Claudia Anderson and Amy Ginther

News from Ursula Meyer, Jennifer Innes and Jeremy Sortore:

VASTA is excited and proud to introduce our new Mentoring Initiative, kicking off at the Seattle VASTA Conference this August 2018. 
The initiative is all about opening up avenues of mentorship and peer support for our members. We will be introducing:

*Mentor/Mentee Opportunities for early career Voice and Speech trainers to develop ongoing relationships with more experienced VASTA members. With some support and guidelines provided by VASTA, these pairings aim to be mutually beneficial and promote open, productive relationships between the less and more experienced members of our community.

*Zoom Panels where those with more experience in our field join an online chat session with those who wish to know more. Early career practitioners will have the opportunity to ask all of those questions they might otherwise be too embarrassed to ask like… “um...what should I charge?!”, “How do I move into corporate coaching?”, “does this ever happen to you…??”.

*Peer Support Partnerships which are like the Mentorship Pairings, but for those with similar levels of experience.  These partnerships are designed to provide observation, feedback, and support among peer colleagues.

We will be launching the initiative at the 2018 VASTA/PAVA Conference in Seattle and invite you to attend our lunchtime roundtable session on Monday 13 August.

We will keep you posted on developments - keep an eye out on our Facebook VASTA’S Voices page for updates.  If you have any questions please contact Initiative Organizers Ursula Meyer at, Jennifer Innes at, or Jeremy Sortore at

Looking forward to future collaborations across our wonderful organization!


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ATHE Conference Planner: Marie Downing







ATHE 2018

I was thrilled to be invited to be the VASTA Focus Group Planner for ATHE and I am very excited about this year’s Presentations and Workshops! The Conference will be held August 1-5 at The Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel and the theme is “Theatres of Revolution: Performance, Pedagogy, and Protest.” Our members have submitted outstanding presentations that not only coincide with the theme, but are aligned with VASTA’s mission and ideals.  Some multidisciplinary collaborations this year include “Revolutionary Acting Approaches & Resources for the Latinx Actor” (Micha Espinoza, Cynthia Decure, Michael Barnes, Marcelino Quiñonez),  with the Latinx Focus Group.  Some VASTA Focus Presentations include “From Joan of Arc to the Women's March:  Developing Vocal and Physical Authority” (Rebecca Covey) and “Revolutions in Dialect Pedagogy: Towards an Inclusive Practice that Resists Cultural Effacement” (Daron Oram). These are a handful of highlights but there are several others that will be representing VASTA with some provocative, political, and exciting voice and speech workshops and presentations.

The VASTA Debut Panel has been assembled with four new members that will be making their very first presentations for VASTA at ATHE!  We welcome Tootie Larios McCarthy, RRT (Registered Rodenburg Teacher) and owner and private teacher at The Uncommon Voice in the Boston area. She will be giving an overview of the methodology taught by Patsy Rodenburg and an in-depth focus on vocal warm-up.  Next is Designated Linklater Teacher Dianna Cortez, making her debut conference appearance. She will share her exploration of applying the Linklater approach into singing, with a focus on an embodied warm-up using imagery to support the technical work, and the technical awareness to support the image, leading participants into singing from the heart. Dianna has a background in Classical singing and is a New York City-based actor, singer, director and voice/dialect coach.  She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Voice and Speech for the NYU students at The Lee Strasberg Institute, also teaching at the Syracuse University/Tepper Program in NYC (B.F.A), Circle in the Square Drama School, PACE University (B.A.-Film/TV/Commercial/Voice Over), and The Linklater Center for Voice and Language. She also works with clients in her private studio in NYC.  Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer is an Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech at the University of Connecticut and will be sharing an experiential exercise aimed at teaching the basic intonation pattern of a given accent.  It draws on inspiration from other notable accent coaches and asks:  Can well-known songs help us learn the intonation pattern of an accent?  The exercise will involve singing songs chosen for the musical intervals they contain and then linking that patterning to the accent.   Finally, Evan Mueller, Assistant Professor, Voice/Acting at Western Washington University will explore ‘visceral joy’ in using the speech sounds that he explores in voice and speech class.   He believes students are often able to talk about their speech, and use IPA to describe speech, but they don’t easily come to an understanding of how our speech skills play an essential role in truthful acting.  He will share an exercise that he has developed and adapted using the principle of onomatopoeia, and using the simple ‘fun’ of onomatopoeia to help students connect the experience of each sound to the experience of each word, and to further explore the way onomatopoetic speech sounds combine in playful ways to create all the words that build the text.  The authentic discovery and enjoyment of the sounds in language leads to a truthful and vocally rich experience with text, heightened or otherwise.   

I hope I have piqued your interest and that you may decide to come to ATHE this year to see all the wonderful work VASTA members are contributing to the world of theatre in academia and beyond. I also encourage you to think about submitting a proposal and joining VASTA at ATHE  in Orlando 2019. More to come!


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Voice and Speech Review

Rockford Sansom

Hello VASTA Community,  

2018 is an exciting year for the Voice and Speech Review (VSR).

The March 2018 (12.1) issue is available on the VSR’s Routledge website (see below), along with an early release of many of the July (12.2) articles. 

We recently announced the 2017 award winners, and we are excited that the VASTA board of directors voted on accompanying several of these awards with monetary prizes.

The next VSR author deadline is July 1, 2018. This date is the deadline for drafts in our themed issue on the History of Voice Pedagogy. July 1, 2018 is also the due date for early consideration for all other articles in the 2019 volume. 

We evaluate articles first come, first served, so please submit your drafts (or even your ideas for articles) as soon as possible. 

Many of the VSR Associate Editors and I will be at the VASTA conference in Seattle. The VSR will have an information table there. I’ll also offer an information and support workshop for authors, and at the conference, you can sign up for an appointment time to chat one-on-one with me about your potential article. 

Below are many other VSR details and helpful links. If we can ever assist you and support you in publication, then please let us know. 

Most sincerely, 

Rockford Sansom, Editor-in-Chief


July 2018 (12.2) Issue Sneak Peek 


Vocal Traditions: Linklater Voice Method by Kristin Linklater


Coaching Asian Actors and Asian Accents with Cultural Sensitivity by Joy Lanceta Coronel


Reflections on Voice: Silent Voices in the Cornfield by Ben Corbett


To Access the VSR Online


1) Go to the VASTA homepage (

2) Scroll to find “Click Here for VSR Online Access” on the right

3) Login 

4) “Click to Read the VSR Online” 


More Information about the VSR


About the VSR

Editorial Board 

Author Guidelines 

Book Review Information 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Resources for Authors 

VSR Awards 


2017 Award Winners 


2017 Dudley Knight Award for Outstanding Vocal Scholarship

Joanna Cazden for Stalking the Calm Buzz: How the Polyvagal Theory Links Stage Presence, Mammal Evolution, and the Root of the Vocal Nerve 


2017 Rocco Dal Vera Graduate Research Award 

Kate Glasheen for Negotiating the Contrary Craft of the Triple-Threat


2017 VSR Forum Article of the Year Award

Matthew Hoch for The Legacy of William Vennard and D. Ralph Appelman and Their Influence on Singing Voice Pedagogy: Reflections after 50 Years (1967-2017)


TDPT Access

Routledge has reinstated free online access to the journal Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) for all current VASTA members. Follow the steps to log into the VSR for access to TDPT. This journal is a wonderful companion to the VSR

VASTA member and VSR Associate Editor, Daron Oram, is featured in the most recent TDPT issue with his excellent article: “Losing sight of land: tales of dyslexia and dyspraxia in psychophysical actor training.”


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Member News

Hollace Starr

Hollace Starr headshot

Below please find Member News for members with last names A-L.

The schedule for publishing Member News for the rest of 2018 (with submissions being made ideally by the first of the month) is as follows:

Mid-August: Members with last names/surnames beginning with M, N, O, P, Q, or R

Mid-November: Members with last names/surnames beginning with S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

Member News should be emailed to Hollace at for publishing. Please attach a jpg photo to your email and adhere to the following format for your submission:

Font: Times New Roman, Size 12 Font
YOUR NAME IN ALL CAPS (Location City, State or Country)
Book Titles: italics
Play Titles: italics
Articles: quotation marks
Journals: italics

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, at

Thank you very much!                                                                                          

Hollace Starr                                                                                      

Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice


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AbernathyCORBIN ABERNATHY, B.M, M.Perf.A. (Philadelphia, PA) has enjoyed a year of growth both professionally and personally. Corbin presented a performance training workshop entitled Singing and Acting with Archetypes in Philadelphia as well as part of the Minuetto Music Festival in Summit, NJ and his PDI Theater for Social Change Through the Eyes of Bertolt Brecht has been accepted for presentation at the EdTA National Conference in Denver, CO this coming September. He has helped produce an opera masterclass in Philadelphia for Greater Philadelphia NATS with Metropolitan Opera soprano Sandra López and has served as a guest judge at the PA Thespians State Conference in York, PA in addition to the GP NATS local auditions and Pennsylvania NATS Regional Auditions. Two of Corbin’s students are graduating this year from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and NYU Tisch in Theatre and Musical Theatre respectively. As a performer, Corbin is currently working with Paul Spencer Adkins, Julie van DeGrift, Samuel Heifetz and Sharon Sigal in Dream With Me: A Leonard Bernstein Retrospective. His private studio continues to grow and he celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary to Andrew Beck.


ROBIN ARONSON (Hattiesburg, MS), Professor of Voice and Acting at the University of Southern Mississippi, recently portrayed the role of Penelope Sycamore in You Can’t Take It With You and is currently the voice and dialect coach for Peter and The Starcatcher at the University of Southern Mississippi. Robin will be teaching a one-week Lessac Voice and Body Workshop this summer with the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) in Manila, Philippines as well as running Midsummer Musical Theatre Experience, a summer day camp she created for young artists in Hattiesburg.


LINDA BISESTI, (Los Angeles, CA),  has the pleasure of teaching in the May Term, 2018, at Mary Baldwin University, associated with the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia. She continues her work as Head of Acting at Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, CA where she also teaches voice and directs.  Her production of Intimate Apparel, fall, 2017 was one of the invited productions at KCACTF, REGION 8.  Linda is producing and acting in the 14th season of the Southern California Shakespeare Festival, SCSF’s  production of Romeo and Juliet as the Nurse in late Summer/Fall 2018. Linda is active working in TV/Film in Los Angeles and coaching.



CANDICE BROWN, (Boston, MA) Associate Professor, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee contributed, ‘Using Punctuation to Facilitate Comedy in the plays of George Bernard Shaw and beyond’ to the book, Acting Comedy edited by Christopher Olson, published by Routledge, vocal directed Sons of The Prophet by Stephen Karam; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with music and lyrics by David Yazbek and book by Jeffrey Lane; Trojan Women by Charles Mee; The Trial by Steven Berkoff; Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill; Moist an originally devised work by John Kuntz.  She will be attending the Canada’s National Voice Intensive in Toronto in May and will teach acting in the Musical Theater Dance Intensive at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee in August.  Candice hopes to reconnect with many of you at the VASTA conference in Seattle.


ANA CRISTINA (GIGI) BUFFINGTON AEA, SAG/AFTRA (New York, New York, is in her second season as Company Vocal Coach for Steppenwolf Theater Company: The Doppelgänger, by Matthew Lee Erlbach, Directed by Tina Landau; You Got Older, by Clare Barron. Directed by Jonathan Berry; The Minutes, and Linda Vista, by Tracy Letts, Directed by Anna D Shapiro, Dexter Bullard; BLKS, by Aziza Barnes, Directed by Nataki Garret; The Rembrandt, by Jessica Dickey; HIR, by Taylor Mac, Directed by Hallie Gordon; PassOver, by Antoinette Nwandu, Directed by Danya Taymor. Coming up: For 2ST (Second Stage) Mary Page Marlow by Tracy Letts, Directed by Lila Neugebauer; For Steppenwolf The Guards At The Taj, by Rajiv Joseph, Directed by Amy Morton, and The Roommate, by Jen Silverman, Directed by Phylicia Rashad, For Bedlam Theater Company, Romeo & Juliet directed by Eric Tucker. She is currently directing Men On Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus in the Department Of Drama at the Tisch School of the Arts. She is an Associate Arts Professor at Tisch Drama, New York   University.


ADRIANO CABRAL, MFA (Reno, NV) is wrapping up his second year as Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Nevada, Reno. His co-authored manual for graduate speech clinicians, Here's How to Teach Transgender Women Using the Voice and Communication Program (VCMtF Program), will be published and released this fall through Plural Publishing. Adriano is continuing his research on actor training for the LGBTQ-identified actor and LGBTQ inclusivity in the classroom with hopes for a second book deal soon.



ELISA CARLSON (Atlanta, GA) is in her seventh year teaching voice, speech, movement and directing as Professor at the University of North Georgia/Gainesville Theatre Alliance.  Last fall she was assistant director and dialect/text coach for Shakespeare in Love at the Alliance Theatre.  From October-January she coached all historic voices/dialects for Damien Chazelle’s upcoming film First Man, working with Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke and Ciaran Hinds among many others.  In February she was dialect coach for the Alliance Theatre’s premiere of Sheltered, directed by Kimberly Senior.  She just completed directing and choreographing Fuente Ovejuna for GTA.



JOANNA CAZDEN (Burbank, CA) is in her 15th year at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Outpatient Voice Clinic (Los Angeles), newly energized by collaboration with laryngologist Anca Barbu, MD, and a growing therapy team. Private clients range from aging singers to teens with airway dysfunction; she has also joined the coaching roster at Global Voice Acting Academy. In November 2017 she presented an overview of cognitive science and voice therapy at the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association's national convention, and in March 2018 her Voice and Speech Review article "Stalking the Calm Buzz: How the Polyvagal Theory Links Stage Presence, Mammal Evolution, and the Root of the Vocal Nerve" received the journal's Dudley Knight Award for Outstanding Vocal Scholarship. Joanna will speak on "The Soma in the Brain " at VASTA/PAVA's 2018 conference, Seattle.


TOVAH CLOSE (Charlottesville, VA) recently left an adjunct instructor position at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (New Studio on Broadway) and relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia. Since arriving, she taught a two-week master class in phonetics for the University of Virginia's MFA Acting program and served as vocal and accents coach on a UVA mainstage production of We Are Pussy Riot or Everything is PR. In addition to building a list of private clients locally and via Skype, she coached dialects for a local production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls and looks forward to working on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time later this year. More at


MARY COY (Washington, DC) continues coaching privately as well as teaching Introduction to Linklater Technique at The Actor’s Center in DC. She coached voice and dialects for Arena Stage’s production of Great Society earlier this year. This summer she will be assisting Kristin Linklater’s 2018 teacher training at the KL Voice Centre in Orkney, Scotland. In the fall, she will return to teaching The Art of Communication to incoming freshmen at the University of Maryland.


JEFF S. DAILEY, PHD, (Brooklyn, NY) continued his exploration of medieval theatre by directing productions of The Coming of Antichrist from the Chester Cycle and two interludes by the early 16th playwright John Bale -- John Baptist's Preaching in the Wilderness and The Temptation of Our Lord, all in 2017.  In 2018, he created a performance piece based on the Old English poem The Dream of the Rood.  Upcoming articles include, "Preaching John Donne" in The Living Pulpit and "Would Jesus Punch Satan?" in The General Theological Seminary Quarterly.




KRISTI DANA (Brooklyn, NY) is wrapping up an appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice & SpeechKD shot at Penn State University’s School of Theatre (2017-2018). She had a wonderful time teaching BFA and MFA Actors, as well as vocal coaching The Laramie Project and The Wolves. Kristi is excited to have recently accepted a new Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice & Speech position in the division of Theatre at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts (2018-2019). In 2017, Kristi acted as co-organizer, alongside VASTA member Susan Schuld, of Knight-Thompson Speechwork’s Monthly Webinar Series. In March 2018, “Vocal Traditions: Miller Voice Method” was published in the Voice and Speech Review. Kristi co-authored this article alongside VASTA members Scott Miller (Founder, Miller Voice Method), John Patrick (Co-Founder, MVM Studio) and Liam Joynt (Co-Founder, MVM Studio). This summer, Kristi is excited to join five other voice and speech trainers as part of Miller Voice Method’s inaugural teacher certification class. She is also thrilled to be a Scholar-in-Residence at the Michael Chekhov Association’s International Workshop and Festival, where she will have a lab devoted to researching the intersections of the Michael Chekhov Technique and the Miller Voice Method. Additionally, Kristi is very much looking forward to co-presenting at the 2018 VASTA/PAVA Conference alongside Scott Miller, John Patrick and Liam Joynt:  “Vocal Issues Are Cognitive Memorization Issues: Miller Voice Method (MVM) - Text Transfusion, A Game-changing Approach to Text Preparation.”


KATE DeVORE, M.A., CCC-SLP (Chicago, IL) served as Vocal Consultant for several shows at the Goodman Theatre this past year, as well as coaching at A Red Orchid Theatre. She published an iBook called Accent Modification: Neutral American Accent (iTunes), and The Voice Book: Caring For, Protecting, and Improving Your Voice has increased its presence in classes and clinics. This summer she will return to teaching voice at The School at Steppenwolf, and will teach the Acting Voice segment of the National Center for Voice and Speech's Summer Vocology Institute in Salt Lake City. She continues to produce her non-voice-related podcast, You Won't Believe What I Ate Last Night (iTunes, etc.).


STEVEN ENG (New York, NY) has begun teaching at HB Studios in NYC in addition to his course load at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in Undergraduate Drama. As an actor, he recently received a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical at the 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards celebrating Off-Broadway in NYC for his performance of Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures at Classic Stage Company. Upcoming projects in NYC include teaching an upcoming Shakespeare workshop as well as directing an original musical called The Monkey King.


MICHA ESPINOSA, MFA (Tempe, AZ.)  received her ten year pin at Arizona State University (ASU). It has been outstanding year of awards for Associate Professor Espinosa.  At the 2017, VASTA ASIA Singapore conference she received the Outstanding Service to the Profession Award and at ASU she received the Sangre de Arte Award commemorating her commitment to the Arts and the mentorship of Latinx students. She was the dialect coach for Arizona Theatre Company’s Man of La Mancha and Southwest Shakespeare’s Henry the IV-Part I. As a master teacher of the Fitzmaurice Voicework and Co-Director of Outreach for South America she has a busy summer teaching in New Mexico, and in Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Resistencia, Argentina. Along with her co-madre Vastan Cynthia DeCure she is in the final stages of completion of their resource guide, Scenebook for Latinx Actors: Voices of the New American Theatre. She will be presenting her research and offering pre-sales of the Scenebook both at ATHE and at VASTA. She continues to be a trainer for the Fitzmaurice Voicework certification in Los Angeles and New York and is thrilled to be in the final planning stages of the first Spanish language certification in Santiago Chile. She continues to serve VASTA as a member of the board.


SAMMI GRANT (Chicago, IL) Sammi’s work as a dialect coach in the Chicago theatre scene continues to thrive.  She recently worked on productions of Southern Gothic at Windy City Playhouse, South Pacific at Drury Lane Theatre, and Frost/Nixon at Redtwist Theatre.  Her next coaching project will be Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, also at Drury Lane Theatre. She recently celebrated the one year anniversary of her viral BuzzFeed video “How To Do 12 Different Accents.”  In that year, the video has reached 1.5 million views on YouTube and almost 47 million views on Facebook. Sammi is thrilled to announce that she was accepted to the MFA Voice Studies program at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  She will be moving to London in September to start her graduate school course. She is very excited to join the Central family, which so many VASTA members are a part of.


JULIA GUICHARD (Oxfod, OH) has been promoted to the rank of full professor at Miami University, effective July 1, 2018.


MATTHEW HOCH, DMA (Auburn, AL) is wrapping up his sixth year as Associate Professor of Voice and Coordinator of Voice Studies at Auburn University. Spring 2018 publications include the book So You Want to Sing CCM (Rowman & Littlefield) as well as a book chapter in The Voice Teacher’s Cookbook (Meredith Music). He also published articles in the Journal of Voice, Journal of Singing, and Classical Singer.  In January and February, Matthew gave recitals, lectures, and master classes at the First International Music Festival hosted by the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in the United Arab Emirates. During the 2017–2018, he also presented recitals at the University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, University of South Carolina, and the University of Montevallo.


MATTHEW HULTGREN (Philadelphia, PA) is an independent contractor and performing arts coach, applying his MFA in Voice & Speech Pedagogy from Harvard University to building a small business, AViD Coaching, in the tri-state area. In the last two years, he has coached Acting, Voice, and Dialects for eleven regional companies and institutions, most recently for Living News at The National Constitution Center. Matthew coaches private clients in all areas of vocal performance and public speaking. He extends his performance pedagogy to training standardized patients for medical programs, and teaching ballroom dance to underserved student populations throughout the city of Philadelphia. He is a frequent substitute teacher for local, college Voice and Acting classes, and is currently developing workshops in Communication Advocacy for medical students at the University of Pennsylvania, and in Persuasive Argument for law students at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.  Matthew continues to pursue eventual certification in Knight-Thompson Speechwork, and will be attending their next Phonetics Intensive in June of 2018.


FOSTER JOHNS (Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America) recently completed his Master of Fine Arts in Voice Studies at the Royal Central School of Speech Drama in London.  Prior to moving back to the Twin Cities in September, he taught for a year at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he had the privilege of observing and guest teaching all four year of voice for the Acting Program as well as teaching Acting for Non-Majors for the UC Baccalaureate undergraduate program.  Since returning to Minnesota he has been busy coaching for local theaters, developing his practice FoJo Voiceworks LLC, and very recently joining forces with fellow VASTA members Cheryl Moore Brinkley and Keely Wolter to form AccentWise, a coaching collaborative focused on providing accent modification. Upcoming plans and projects include serving as voice coach for the May production of Bad News (conceived and directed by Joanne Akalaitis) at the Guthrie, participating in Knight Thompson workshops toward 2019 certification, and continuing to serve VASTA on the Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee and as Social Media Content Manager.


JIM JOHNSON (Houston, TX) received word he will be promoted to Full Professor, effective September 1. This year he directed The Syringa Tree at Unity Theatre, which he also coached. He also coached productions of Luchadora!, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead at the University of Houston, and Francesca Zambello's production of West Side Story at Houston Grand Opera. In July, he will return to the Czech Republic for his third summer teaching and performing with the Prague Shakespeare Company's summer intensive. continues to release updates to the 45 sets of accent materials currently available, and this year Jim will be releasing new materials for Manchester, Birmingham, and India/South Asia. This year also includes recording road trips through the south, the midwest, and the upper midwest, gathering more native speaker recordings for free updates on AccentHelp.


DEBORAH KINGHORN (Durham, NH) recently played Gertrude in Hamlet with Seven Stages Shakespeare Company, and directed Pericles for the University of New Hampshire.  She served as Critical Reader for the new book, Play with Purpose: Lessac Kinesensics in Action, which was published in January 2018 by the Lessac Training and Research Institute. She is currently writing a new forward for the re-publication of Arthur Lessac’s book, Body Wisdom, The Use and Training of the Human Body.


KENDRA KINGSBURY (Denver, CO & South Haven, MI - USA) has recently stepped into numerous roles within VASTA including Co-Chairing the Business and Corporate Consulting Committee (BizCorp) with Dolly May. She's also the Conference Director 2019 and is excited to be chairing the Conference Planning Subcommittee.  Kendra works in Denver, CO with fellow VASTAN, Hilary Blair. She is fortunate to be able to work, learn and train with ARTiculate: Real&Clear and to be part of the incredible work that's done to free people's voices and rock the world.  Kendra became a certified Vocal Yoga® practitioner from fellow VASTAN, Heather Lyle. Vocal Yoga® has been an integral methodology in exploring the connection of voice, breath, and the body.


Barry Kur


BARRY KUR, Professor Emeritus, Penn State University School of Theatre/ Master Teacher, Lessac Training and Research Institute, will be dialect coaching, August 2018, The Seafarer at the Delaware REP Theatre, directed by Ben Barnes, former Artistic Director of The Abbey Theatre. 


Linklater shot

KRISTIN LINKLATER (Orkney, Scotland), Professor Emerita Columbia University, is Artistic Director of The Kristin Linklater Voice Centre in Orkney, now in its fifth season offering workshops in Voice and Shakespeare throughout the year. In 2017 she taught 20 week-long workshops at KLVC which included a 3-week teacher-training and a sponsored week for 10 actors from the Birmingham Conservatory, Stratford Festival, Ontario. She taught week-long workshops at NIDA, Sydney, Westerdals and KHIO Drama Schools Oslo, Norway and presented at the Stage Speech Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2018 she has worked with the World Economic Forum Global Fellows and the RCSSD MAVS. Her article “Vocal Traditions: Linklater Voice Work” was published in the Voice and Speech Review. She is directing Macbeth with amateur actors in Orkney to be performed in July.


Lowry shotMARYA LOWRY (Boston, MA) is an ongoing voice consultant and trainer for NPR (National Public Radio, DC Headquarters), providing training and coaching to on-air journalists. She taught numerous Shakespeare and Unboundaried Voice and Lament workshops and trainings, including Naropa U. MFAs, Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s BFAs, professional workshops in Boston and for Boston Public School Teachers. She will join Roy Hart Voice Teacher, Suzanne Lafontaine, for an “Unboundaried Voice Workshop” in Canada in June. Marya played Brutus in Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s all-female production of Julius Caesar, and was a member of the devising/performing ensemble of I AM LEAR, an exploration of women and aging, both in Boston. She has received an 8-day Artist Residency grant (May) to advance her research into the art and craft of ritual lamentation practice around the globe, and will close the summer playing Mom in True West for Gloucester Stage Co., July-Sept. She continues to teach Acting Shakespeare and Voice at Brandeis University.


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VASTA Board of Directors & Officers

Board of Directors

Betty Moulton
2016 - 2018

Lynn Watson
Past President
2016 - 2018

Michael Barnes
President Elect
2016 - 2018





Michelle Lopez-Rios

Ursula Meyer

John Graham

Erika Bailey

Julia Guichard

Pamela Prather

Micha Espinosa

Antonio O'Campo-Guzman





Tamara Meneghini-Stalker  

Chaslee Schweitzer

Rockford Sansom
Editor-in-Chief, The Voice & Speech Review

Kate Glasheen
Reviews Editor, The Voice & Speech Review

Lauren Murphy Yeoman
Editor, The VASTA Voice

Hollace Starr
Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice

Thrasso Petras
Director of Membership Services

Kate Clarke & Rachel Hirshorn-Johnson
Directors of Annual Conferences

Marie Downing
ATHE Conference Planner
Cynthia DeCure
Associate ATHE Conference Planner
Rene Pulliam
ATHE Focus Group Representative

Cynthia Bassham
Human Resources Director

Michael J. Barnes
Senior Technical Director

Adriano Cabral
Director of Technology/Web Services 

Kendra Kingsbury
Associate Director of Technololgy
2017 -

Yolanda Heman-Ackah

 Associate Officers

Amy Stoller
Editor, VASTA Links Page

Flloyd Kennedy
Editor, Workshop & Events Page

Janet B. Rodgers
VASTA Archivist 

Brad Gibson

Judd Johnson
Social Media Manager

Foster Johns
Social Media Content Manager







Committee Chairs

Barry Kur
 Awards and Grants Committee

Cynthia DeCure
 Diversity Committee

Colton Weiss
Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Diane Robinson
Teaching and Learning Committee

Daron Oram
Global Membership Group

Dolly May & Kendra Kingsbury
Business and Corporate Consulting Group





Contact Information Available at VASTA.ORG


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©2010, Voice and Speech Trainers Association