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In August 1986, a nucleus of voice and speech trainers met in New York City. They were motivated by a common concern—the need for an organization to advance the cause of voice and speech training through the promotion of better training programs and the development of more highly trained voice and speech teachers.
At this meeting, the Voice and Speech Trainers Association—VASTA—was born. VASTA held its first conference in New York City in June 1987, where a Constitution and By-Laws were approved. Incorporation took place the following month.
Although the founding group was particularly concerned with actor training, a broader vision for the organization quickly evolved when it became clear that vocal communication skills were not only paramount for the actor, but for all professional voice users. So as the idea of the professional voice began to reach into sectors far beyond the actor's stage, VASTA strove for greater advocacy through the creation and dissemination of numerous training and informational aids. Annual conferences became a mainstay for those wishing to enhance and/or improve their practical and teaching skills, while the inclusion of voice science grew to be core. VASTA quickly grew into a mature service organization for its members, and in so doing created an organized and structured identity for the voice and speech profession.
As the voice and speech profession's identity became more widespread, VASTA's outreach pursued the inclusion of any and all of those practitioners who serve the functional voice, and any and all those interested outside the United States. Most recently, VASTA conferences are venturing beyond US borders, and the organization is reaching out with a committed effort to connect and exchange ideas and practices with related organizations and minorities.
Today, VASTA has approximately 700 members including academics, actors and singers, voice and speech pathologists, medical doctors, corporate trainers, and private studio trainers and healers. Members hail from every continent other than Antarctica and clients range from actors and singers to auctioneers to lawyers to politicians to the clergy, to CEOs—anyone for whom the voice and vocal communication are important.
History of VASTA Presidents
||Dorothy Runk Mennen, Founding President
||Michael J Barnes