The VASTA Voice

Volume 9, Issue 1
February 2014


Table of Contents:

A Message from the President
From the Editor
Welcome to Our New Associate Editor
Mentorship Part 1 
One Mentee's Journey
A Person By Any Other Name . . .
Lessac Training and Research Institute Conference
Robin Carr: Research Grant Recipient
VSR Update
International Committee Update
Diversity Committee Reminders
Member News

A Message from the President


Mandy Rees

Dear Friends,

In our last newsletter, you were able to read about our VASTA VISION retreat where we identified principles to guide us into the future as we continue to strengthen our current initiatives and develop new ones.

To start off 2014, we would like to announce our first new initiative: a Conference Grant for New growth from money!Interdisciplinary Engagement.  By offering this grant, we want to encourage members to go to conferences in fields outside of voice and speech to absorb knowledge, exchange ideas, and make connections … and then to share their discoveries with the membership.  We hope this may build bridges between VASTA and other organizations, as well as bring new ideas to our practices that have the potential to transform the discipline.

Through our VASTA VISION initiative of Transformational Engagement, the VASTA Engagement Committee (formally the Outreach Committee) is offering grants to assist with the expenses of conference registration, travel and/or housing.  Grants can range from $250 to $2,500.

How To Apply
Write a letter addressing the following:
• Your interest in the subject area
• How you anticipate the new knowledge will enhance your work
• How this connection to another discipline might ignite interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary exploration in our membership
• Why you think you’re a good candidate for the grant.

• Include a thorough budget to the proposal (conference registration, travel, housing).

Send this letter to Hilary Blair at who will send applications to the Engagement Committee.

The application deadline is six weeks before the particular conference’s registration due date; however, funds are limited and the earlier in the year the application is received, the greater the chances for funding.

Awardees will be required to share their findings and experiences with the VASTA membership through a newsletter article and another means such as a workshop, video, conference presentation or other appropriate presentation intended to build bridges between VASTA and other disciplines.

Other guidelines and a list of potential conferences to consider are posted in the “Resources” section of the website.

We hope this will inspire many of you to investigate conferences in areas that are new and intriguing to you!

May your 2014 be filled with discoveries and growth.

Mandy Rees

VASTA President


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Letter from the Editor


Keely Wolter

Keely WolterHello fellow VASTAns,

The Polar Vortex may have passed, but from where I am sitting in St. Paul winter is still very much upon us.  What better way to keep warm than to cozy up with your laptop and this latest issue of the VASTA Voice?

There is a lot to get excited about for VASTAns in 2014, from new grant opportunities and scholarships, to the recent Lessac conference and of course the upcoming VASTA conference in London this summer.  We also have some thought provoking essays this issue, including reflections on the importance of mentorship in our field, and an elaboration on a recent VASTAvox post regarding how we choose to label groups of people and Pluralism.  And, you’ll get the chance to learn a little bit about our new Associate Editor, Joshua Moser, and the new chair of the International Committee, Amy Mihyang Ginther. 

So settle in, end enjoy!

Keely Wolter

Editor, VASTA Voice


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Welcome to Our New Associate Editor


Joshua Moser

Joshua MoserDear VASTAn's,

I hope you have all been staying warm this winter! I would like to introduce myself as the new Associate Editor for the VASTA Voice.  I'm excited to be working with Keely to keep you up to date on VASTA current events.  We would love to hear from you if you have regional updates, news or a small article you would like to share with the organization at large. I look forward to our next year of the Voice together.

All the Best,

Josh Moser

Associate Editor, VASTA Voice


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Mentorship (Part 1)


Betty Moulton

Elizabeth Moulton This will be the first of a series of essays about the mentoring relationship,  designed to provide information from practicing mentors and their mentees,  with the hope of encouraging more experienced voice professionals to take on  this valuable and highly rewarding role, and less experienced teachers and  coaches to find a mentor to help guide their journey in this specialized field.  The relationship is immensely rewarding on both sides and those on the panel  agreed advances the field greatly. The old apprenticeship model of an ongoing  relationship through various stages of a professional’s career is an inspiring  one.

At last year’s VASTA conference in Minneapolis, the panel “ Mentor Relationships: Connecting and Collaborating” discussed the mentor/mentee relationship from the point of view of recent and ongoing relationships.  The panel members were: Betty Moulton, Lynn Watson,  Elissa Weinzimmer, Natasha Staley, Dawn Sadoway, and Alyson Connolly.
Those in attendance appreciated the look into the world of support and promotion this relationship can foster, and panel members wanted to share to a wider audience the benefits and challenges of this relationship with the VASTA reading audience.

What is a Mentor?

The term originates in Homer’s The Odyssey. Mentor was the trusted friend responsible for nurturing Odysseus’ son while Odysseus was off fighting the Trojan War. The term is used to denote “someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague”.

As Dudley Knight noted, “voice and speech teachers…exist within something of an apprenticeship model.”  I think it is safe to say that a great majority of VASTA members have primarily learned from a mentorship/apprenticeship relationship in the field of voice and speech, rather than solely from formal study.

There are various models of mentorship, couched within and without an institution. Many VASTA members work in college or university programs, so they can encounter students interested in the field from as early as high school; students who contact the voice teacher about the actor training program they wish to enter for example. While most young students are interested in acting training initially, and often go on to careers in performing before coming into teaching and coaching voice, some identify early on as wanting to teach in the near future and can be encouraged to seek the appropriate training.

On the VASTA panel were represented two models of the relationship. I mentor graduate students, who are studying to be voice trainers in the MFA in Theatre Voice Pedagogy program at the University of Alberta. I am their principle instructor in Voice and Speech Pedagogy, and their mentor during their two years of study.  I have a colleague in voice, David Ley, who also mentors the grad students, so they receive a good deal of attention. We keep in close touch during their studies through teaching their classes in Voice Pedagogy, observing their teaching and coaching in the department, and connecting them with opportunities campus wide for workshops to teach and individual coaching to do.

We are also very involved in the continuing development of their career after the program: writing letters of recommendation, fielding questions, collaborating on research projects, and even visiting them at their place of work or seeing productions they have coached.

Previous to the MFA program, which started in 2006, I mentored individuals on an ad hoc basis when they came to visit the department for a short time, or when they apprenticed with me at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

The other model represented on the panel was demonstrated by Lynn Watson mentoring Natasha Staley.  Lynn is on faculty at a University but oversaw Natasha’s work in a different way.  Natasha’s article below will give the details of this mentor-mentee relationship.

When I consider my mentorship role, I feel a responsibility to encourage anyone who shows interest. I field phone calls and emails providing as much information about ongoing education, workshops, conferences, written materials and other sources that I have time to share.  I also encourage those inquiring to meet other teachers and coaches in the field, and to connect to related fields.

Mentoring is often discussed at my University. I attended a 2010 presentation on mentorship, “Exploring Graduate Student Academic Advisement: A Canadian Perspective,” presented by Joseph F. Engemann and Jennifer A. Skinner-Winslow, both from the faculty of Education at Brock University. According to these researchers, students are looking for these three main attributes of good mentorship:

Personalized support according to their particular strengths and weaknesses
Domain-specific expertise that is readily available
Encouragement for their development in the field

Positive role models
A balance between student autonomy and support

A personal and comfortable connection to the mentor
Demonstration of the mentor’s non-academic persona
Complementary ideologies that support the mentee’s research interests

The ‘Ideal Mentor Scale’ was employed in their study. It was developed by Gail Rose from the University of Iowa in 1999 and consists of 34 items that reflect aspects of a mentoring relationship, assessed on a five point Likert scale. The questions posed in the IMS helped the researchers identify the above general categories and attributes.

In an educational setting, a mentor can be described as much more invested in a mentee than an ordinary advisor or teacher or supervisor.  It implies a deep relationship that is advisory, provides guidance, has integrity as a role model, and establishes a relationship, a personal connection.

A mentor may also be an academic supervisor to the mentee - this is the additional role that I fulfill in my program

Here are some mentoring ‘shoulds’, adapted from Teresa M. Bey and C. Thomas Holmes’ book, Mentoring: Developing Successful New Teachers.  The points are taken from the chapter: A Definition for Developing Self-Reliance, by Richard S. Kay.

  • Define limits on how comprehensive the mentoring relationship will be through mutual consent of the mentor and mentee.
  • Be realistic about the resources and expertise available to the mentee.
  • Facilitate self-reliance by providing encouragement and unconditional acceptance.
  • Be self-reliant, as this promotes a willingness and ability to help others become the same.
  • Keep the attitudes, skills and behaviours developed by the mentee widely applicable and adaptable to the overall field.
  • Put strong focus on the growth of the mentee, not subsuming them to the mentor’s own needs. The ideal is when both can be served without sacrificing the other.

This ends the first part of this initial article on mentorship. Watch for Part 2 in the next newsletter!


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One Mentee's Journey


Natasha Staley

Natasha StaleyMy journey as a mentee began in early 2008, when I was introduced to my mentor through formerVASTA President BettyAnn Leeseberg-Lange.  I had recently graduated from FSU/Asolo Conservatory with my MFA in acting, where I studied Fitzmaurice Voicework® under Patricia Delorey.  I was eager to pursue Fitzmaurice Certification, but knew I needed more knowledge and experience.  BettyAnn-- who was dialect coaching a show I was performing in-- suggested I reach out to Lynn Watson, a Fitzmaurice Voicework® teacher and Associate Professor at nearby University of Maryland Baltimore County.  BettyAnn initiated our introduction by sending Lynn an email endorsing my passion for voice and speech work.  Lynn responded positively, and I sent a follow-up email asking Lynn if I could observe her work.  She said yes, and our mentor-mentee relationship was born.

Our work together found a natural progression.  I began in 2009 by observing Lynn’s classes at UMBC and meeting with her once a week to discuss vocal pedagogy.  The following semester, I provided hands-on assistance to students during class.  In spring of 2010, Lynn invited me to teach a section of her Vocal II class.  I continued to teach the following semester, and was also given opportunities to dialect coach productions. With Lynn’s guidance and assistance, I was able to gain the experience needed to achieve certification as an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®, and soon after I secured a tenure-track appointment as Assistant Professor of Voice and Acting at Virginia Tech. 

Working with Lynn has afforded me many significant opportunities to learn and grow.  When I first began teaching, for example, our work together challenged me to find my own voice as a teacher.  Lynn and I were teaching different sections of the same class back-to-back.  I would watch Lynn teach her section, and immediately after her class I would teach my section.  Although Lynn was my teaching model, I was challenged to make the work my own.  I began to discover how I communicated the work to the students, as opposed to being tied to the idea of a teaching ideal.  Backed by Lynn’s reassurance and her confidence in my abilities, I instinctually navigated my way through the teaching waters.  I found that the best way to navigate those waters was by being present and responding to students in the moment; an aspect of teaching always modeled by Lynn, and best experienced by me doing it.  The more I taught, the more I trusted myself, and I began to find my voice.

Another valuable learning opportunity arose out of a collaborative work experience. 
In the fall of 2010, Lynn invited me to collaborate with her on the dialect work in UMBC’s production of Lynn Nottage’s Las Meninas.  Lynn created the dialect design for the show, inviting me into the research process.  I, in turn, coached the actors.  Lynn continued to mentor me throughout the coaching process, answering questions, making suggestions, and providing reassurance.  The production—my first ever dialect coaching job—turned out to be very successful and was one of four productions in the nation to show at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.   

I am extremely fortunate to have journeyed down the career path with the help of a mentor, and I am extremely grateful to VASTA President-Elect Lynn Watson for taking me on as a mentee.  I still call on Lynn for career advice, and she is always willing to take the time to listen, make suggestions, and help me negotiate my way through the profession.  I attribute much of my success as a voice and speech trainer to Lynn’s willingness to guide me through the beginning stages of my career.  Ultimately, her voice has helped me find my voice in the voice and speech profession.


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A Person By Any Other Name . . .


Amy Mihyang Ginther

Amy Mihyang Ginther“Diverse groups?”

“People of Color?”


Which do we use when we refer to groups of students or actors? What should we use?


Michelle Lopez-Rios has asked me to expand upon my response to a recent vastavox post to dialogue about how exactly to refer to groups with specific identity locations, particularly for grant applications or research purposes.  I will elaborate on this because I hope it encourages more teachers in our community to focus their research or to secure funding in this area, which will only increase in its need and importance in the future.

Before continuing, I will make a crucial caveat: as someone who identifies as a Woman of Color (WoC), I want to be clear that it is not my job or my responsibility to educate White people about diverse issues, nor am I a spokesperson or authority for any group of people, none of which are monolithic.  I am writing this piece because I have a personal passion for this type of investigation as it has already had a significant impact on my own research journey and because I hope this conversation encourages more people in our field to focus on vocal and acting issues that uniquely affect these groups in question.  I encourage everyone in our community to pursue these complex topics with ease, openness, and with critical consciousness.

The short answer to this query is that there is no definitive answer. There is no perfect term and there is certainly not a term that everyone is happy with. This is what happens when we try to categorize breathing and dimensional humans with endless combinations of languages, economic backgrounds, gender identifications, sexual orientations, religion, nationalities, etc. It is simply not possible.  But academic journals and funding applications tend to prefer defined terms and conclusions that are antithetical to the wonderful ambiguity that makes up a person’s identity.  And it is important to acknowledge the reality of categories and structures in all areas of our society, from a government census to a casting call.

This became a challenge of mine during my MA dissertation research at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  I was not fully comfortable with any of the terms I had seen or even used to encompass the complexities of my students.  Regardless, I needed to define my terms as per the requirements of articulating a clear research scope.  Some of the following writing was included in my extended explanation of terms in my dissertation’s appendices.

In my research, I have chosen to use “pluralistic background” while acknowledging that this term is not perfect and that my conclusions on this may evolve in my future writing.  The scope of my research often includes those who are not Native English speakers but who are White, therefore other terms weren't fully inclusive or appropriate.

I have defined "people from pluralistic backgrounds” as those who are of color, have a diasporic relationship to the US/UK (meaning their family immigrated here in recent generations), and/or speak at least another language with family members besides English.

Because part of my research is critical of reductionism and essentialism, this makes this process of “defining terms” even more difficult.  I came to use “pluralism” acknowledging that no single term succinctly describes a person with many identity locations and that our performance of culture is an unstable, constantly shifting state. I’m not even completely comfortable using “People of Color” as this connotes that White people don’t have color, emphasizing the idea that those who are not White are outliers in relation to an invisible neutral.  I will note, however, PoC and WoC seem most acceptable and common amongst those in the social justice community, both online and off; this is the main reason I choose to identify myself this way.

I prefer not to use “minority” because this reference is factually untrue. Globally, White people are a racial minority. The amount of power, privilege, and dimensional cultural representation through media, education, and government is what makes people seen as a minority in a dominant White culture. “Marginalised” and “oppressed” acknowledge historical treatment of a group, but I do not want to use them now because I believe the label keeps such a group in that position and to some, it is patronizing. I focused on pluralism because it can encompass many more identity locations beyond race and ethnicity is written about positively in theory.

I found Judith Simmer-Brown’s comparison of pluralism and diversity to be particularly clear. This quote is found in bell hooks’ 2003 book, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope:

“Pluralism is not diversity. Diversity is a fact of modern life-especially in
America. There are tremendous differences in our communities-ethnically,
racially, religiously. Diversity suggests the fact of such differences. Pluralism,
on the other hand is a response to the fact of diversity. In pluralism we
commit to engage with the other person or the other community. Pluralism
is a commitment to communicate with and relate to the larger world - with
a very different neighbor or distant community.”

hooks adds that “many educators embrace the notion of diversity while resisting pluralism or any other thinking that suggests that they should no longer uphold dominator culture).”

 The aim of this article is not to personally criticize anyone who has or is currently using any of these terms in reference to their students or actors; I’ve used a number of these terms to both identify myself and others during my life and teaching career. Instead, I hope a dialogue about how we refer to others challenges all of us to reflect upon our own identity locations within the context of our student bodies and our greater, socio-cultural society. Much like telling our students to not try to make the perfect sound or aim to “get it right”, we should approach the complex issues of social justice and education with an open mind and heart and a humble willingness to grow. 

*Amy regularly writes about voicework and pedagogy as it relates to identity, race, sociolinguistics, and hegemony on her site:


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9th Annual Conference of the Lessac Training and Research Institute


Barry Kur

Lessac LogoThe Lessac Training and Research Institute held its ninth annual conference at Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania on January 9-11.  Members of the institute and invited guests had the opportunity to share their research accomplishments, refresh their mastery of the work with master teachers, investigate paths for outreach and present experiments in the application of digital technology in teaching Lessac Kinesensics.

The Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel provided excellent accommodations for member presentations, conference meals, lodging and socializing throughout the weekend.  Beyond the presentations, the conference included the annual business meeting of the Institute, presided over by Sean Turner, President.  Sean has been leading the membership in strategic planning for continued growth and stability of the institute and shared the most immediate action items.  Lessac Certified Trainers also met to discuss with the Master Teacher Council the development of continued training beyond certification.

Following a daily ”tune-up” with Master Teacher Barry Kur, member presentations began.  The presentations were grouped by common themes.    A number of sessions were workshops in which members experienced commonalities or the infusion of the Lessac Kinesensics with various actor training methods.  Robin Carr and Eric Berryman dealt with the Suzuki Method,  Aimee Blesing  shared her experiences with the Michael Chekhov training, and Heather Huggins shared the integration of the Lessac Kinesensics and Drozin Physical Actor Training.

Under the common topic of outreach, members and guest artists shared research endeavors in which the Lessac Kinesensics were being applied to disciplines and communities beyond the application of actor training.  David Turner and Brett Lefler presented their experiential research of the physical commonalities in actor training and those of the visual artist, utilizing the physical awareness of the Lessac body energies.  Jennifer Juul, shared her personal post-surgical rehabilitation and physical therapy enhanced by her Lessac “body wisdom.”   Doctoral candidate, Rebecca Tumbarello, introduced her dissertation plans for the application of Lessac voice and body training in music and early childhood education of deaf and hard of hearing students.

Technology has become an important issue of development of the institute and three members shared their ongoing application of digital technology in the teaching of Lessac Kinesensics.  Crystal Robbins shared her evolving work in recorded voice and body tune-ups.  Gene Zerna offered a live, real-time, demonstration of his use of video conferencing for distant learning with ESL clients around the world.  Laurie Mufson presented her development of an iBook workbook to facilitate teaching of the Lessac Consonant Orchestra.

Literature and Language topics have always been part of the institute’s annual conference menu.  This year, Master Teacher Deborah Kinghorn, shared excerpts of Lessac workbooks currently being written and edited in Spanish, Swetswana and Croatian.  These have grown out of Lessac workshops being hosted by members in Puerto Rico, South African and Croatia.  Melissa Hurt led a workshop in the application of children’s literature for foundational training of college age students and Helen Housley, presented her ongoing research with Shakespearean text and how the awareness and exploration of the Lessac Vocal Energies can inform actor interpretations.  Master Teacher Nancy Krebs presented a retooling workshop focusing on Lessac Structural Energy and its ” inter-connectedness” to all three vocal energies. 

The highlight events of the banquet included the granting of certification to Dana Smith and Kellynn Meeks and the presentation of the Lessac Leadership Award to Barry Kur.

The conference was preceded by a Board of Directors Meeting, a Strategic Planning session, and a two-day workshop led by Barry Kur on Stage Dialects utilizing the Lessac Kinesensics and his text, Stage Dialect Studies, A Continuation of the Lessac Approach to Actor Voice and Speech Training.

The tenth annual conference is scheduled for January 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.


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Lessac Kinesensic Practice-Based Research: Philippines and Australia


Robin Carr

Robin Carr Robin Carr, Associate Professor of Voice and Acting at the University of  Southern Mississippi and Lessac Certified Voice and Body Trainer, was a  recipient of the 2013 Dorothy Mennen Research Grant Development Award.  This  funding, along with a Faculty Excellence Award from the University of Southern  Mississippi, supported travel and expenses to engage in Lessac Kinesensic  Voice and Body Training Practice-Based Research at the prestigious National  Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, Australia and with the newly formed  Theatre Actors Guild (TAG) in Manila, Philippines during the summer of 2013.  

 Carr was personally invited by Katerina Moraitis, Head of Voice at the National  Institute for Dramatic Art (NIDA) and Lessac Certified Trainer; and Jennifer  Jamora, a co-founder of the Theatre Actors Guild (TAG) to teach the Lessac Kinesensic Voice and Body Training to students and professionals in the field of theatre.  Carr’s Lessac research began in 2011 when she taught the Lessac training to Croatian Students at the University of Rijeka in their newly developed Post Master’s Program and in 2012 when she taught students from Puerto Rico who spoke English as a second language during the Lessac Training and Research Institute’s summer intensive at DePauw University. 

The scope and larger objective of Carr’s research was to explore how the Lessac system could be used effectively on an international level while gaining insight into vocal and physical challenges specific to each culture.  With this information, she then compared and contrasted how the Lessac training works with different languages, vocabulary usage, physical gesture, and ultimately, communication.  This project assisted with her long range goal to find a universal way to approach voice and speech training using Lessac Kinsensic training.  During her short stay at NIDA, she learned about the specific challenges for Australian actors of jaw tension and feeling tone in the front of the oral cavity.  With TAG actors in Manila, she encouraged the actors to become empowered with their voices.  Having few voice and speech training opportunities, the TAG actors discovered tools to apply directly to text work.

Ultimately, Carr came to the conclusion that the Lessac Kinesensic Voice and Body training can be taught, felt and applied directly to communication in both Australia and the Philippines, however, specifics concerning vowel shape and resonation varied by country.  She was delighted to see how the musical metaphor of Arthur Lessac’s work could be felt with both NIDA actors and TAG professionals immediately.  Carr returned upon invitation from Katerina Moraitis to NIDA later that summer to teach for a full term.  In the Philippines, the newly formed Theatre Actors Guild is the preeminent representing body for acting professionals.  TAG is known internationally for their advocacy and protection for Filipino actors. Carr supports TAG endeavors by sharing the Lessac work with them and in doing so, vocally and physically empowering the group.  She is currently making plans to return and work with the TAG in the summer of 2015.

Because of this research opportunity, and the support of VASTA and Southern Miss, Carr feels her teaching approach has crystalized and her problem-solving abilities have been greatly enhanced.  Carr’s Lessac Kinesensic Practice-Based Research is on-going.  She is currently working on Lessac based articles focused on the connection between singing and speaking in musical theatre and the integration of Kinesensic training with the Suzuki Method of Actor Training.  This February, she will travel to Dublin, Ireland to teach a one week introductory Lessac Kinesensic workshop for the Gaiety School of Acting.  Now President-Elect of the Lessac Training and Research Institute, Robin Carr is excited to share the Lessac work whenever and wherever she can.  Robin would to personally thank VASTA for giving her this opportunity.


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VSR Update


Jeff Morrison

Hello VASTAns,

The digital Voice and Speech Review is gradually getting closer to its fully realized self.  New articles are Jeff Morrisonappearing weekly, and they are beginning to demonstrate what digital media is capable of, using active hyperlinks, color photos, and audio files.  We hope to publish something with video before the year is out.  We are also beginning to see authors cite our articles in other journals, which means that people other than VASTA members and those in the voice and speech world are reading your work.  This is hugely exciting, and exactly what we hoped would begin to happen.

As you become more familiar with the new format of the journal, you will notice a few things. We are no longer dividing published articles into our original nine editorial areas (however, those areas remain for the purposes of editing and developing your writing).  You will see articles listed as “Forum” pieces or as “Articles.”  What this means is we are distinguishing research-based writing from writing that is more anecdotal, experience- or practice-based.  It is very important to us that we continue to find ways to value one of the unique aspects of Voice and Speech scholarship: the distilling of anecdote, story, metaphor, practice and process into useful, cogent written language.  That is what the Forum is for.  We are also publishing reviews as we have before, but with our accelerated schedule, we now have the opportunity to publish more reviews, and not just of books – because we can now use hyperlinks, websites, software and phone apps, e-media of any kind are fair game.  Please contact with ideas and queries for reviews.

Accessing the VSR is no longer as easy as it was, but it is still free for current VASTA members (just not everybody else). We now need to pass through a portal to read it, and you will need an active VASTA password to follow the link (which means your membership needs to be current and paid up). There are several ways to do this:

Go to the VASTA website and log in.  Using your mouse pointer, hover over “Publications” then hover over “Voice and Speech Review.”  On the menu that pops up, you should see “Access the Electronic VSR.”  Click on that link, which will take you to a page where there is a message from Routledge and a green button that says “Click to read the VSR.”  Click that, and you will be taken to our page at Routledge.  New articles can be found under the “Latest Articles;” our last print issue is still the “Current Issue.”

Alternatively, follow this link:
Click the green button, and if you haven’t already entered your VASTA username/password, you will be prompted to do so.  Having done that, you will be taken to our home at Routeldge – click “Latest Articles” or “Current Issue.”

Spend some time clicking and exploring – there is a LOT of stuff to read, and if you set up a profile at the site, you can set alerts for new articles or citation alerts for something you wrote (even if it was thirteen years ago).
I hope you do visit our page at Routledge and let me know what you think. This is still new, and there are still kinks to be worked out.  I need to know what kinds of problems people are encountering (you can also email me with positive comments).  As always, contact me at

Happy reading!

Jeff Morrison


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International Committee Update


Amy Mihyang Ginther

Amy Mihyang Ginther Hello everyone!
 I am excited and honored to be the new Chair of the International Committee  and am incredibly passionate about expanding the VASTA family and including  as many voices, experiences, and methodologies from across the world. In the  past 6 years, I've had the great privilege of working, teaching, and living in  South America, Europe, and Asia and I hope my background as an American  expatriate will not only increase a more global participation in VASTA but also  raise critical questions about how our teaching and research translates across  cultures and languages. The International Committee is made of up of a  wonderful, dedicated group, spanning across many continents. We would like  to hear from you! Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or suggestions!


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Diversity Committee Reminders


Michelle Lopez-Rios

Michelle Lopez-RiosWe are committed to continuing the discussion on diversity issues in the VASTAVoice.   As chair of the VASTA diversity committee, I invite anyone to contribute to this column!  Please send thoughts, ideas and questions to Michelle Lopez-Rios,


Reminders from the Diversity Committee…

2014 VASTA Conference Diversity Scholarship

VASTA as an organization values the benefit of hearing the voices and ideas of a diverse group of practitioners. This scholarship will provide an opportunity for a practitioner from an under-served population to attend this important VASTA event. VASTA will offer one $500 Scholarship to an early career voice practitioner from an under-represented community to attend the VASTA Conference in London.

This scholarship is intended for someone who is a(n):

  • Member of an under-represented community. This includes, but is not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexual orientation, and gender identification;
  • Early career voice practitioners. This may include someone at the end of their graduate studies, a freelance practitioner, adjunct professor (tenure-track professors are not encouraged to apply); and
  • A person who has not yet attended a VASTA conference.

Applicants for the Diversity Scholarship should submit the following:

  1. A 2-page condensed C.V. (with contact info)
  2. An essay which expresses your self-identification as a member of a diverse community and how attending the conference would benefit your practice and career,

Please Note: Applicants need not be a current VASTA member.

Please submit your materials in .doc or .pdf format via e-mail to:
 Michelle Lopez-Rios by the March 30, 2014 deadline.


VASTA 2014 Conference “Identity Cabaret” - Voicing the Future: Re-inventing Traditions! 

This is a performance opportunity for individuals to share a song, a poem, a monologue, or section of a play that celebrates your heritage, culture, background or identity.  It will be hosted by Fran Bennet and organized by Michelle Rios-Lopez. Performances should be no longer than five minutes.  A mic and a piano will be available. This will take place during happy hour, 5-6:30 on an evening of the conference yet to be determined.  Contact Michelle at for questions or sign up.  We want to make this a vital part of the conference and an annual event, please join us.


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Member News



ROBIN CARR (University of Southern Mississippi) taught the Lessac Kinesensic Voice and Body Work at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia. this summer. This fall, she won a Faculty Excellent Award in Directing from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her directing work on Rent.




Melissa Hurt

MELISSA HURT has a book entitled Arthur Lessac's Embodied Actor Training coming out in March 2014 with Routledge. You can pre-order a copy here.  Additionally, she recently presented a workshop entitled "Children's Stories as an Assessment Tool for Vocal NRGs" at the Lessac Institute conference in State College, PA.



Barry Kur BARRY KUR recently hosted the 9th Annual Lessac Institute Conference at Penn State  University, Jan 9-11.   The Conference included sessions by Institute members (Master  Teachers, Certified Trainers and Practitioners) on outreach research, growth and  integration of Lessac work with other creative disciplines, issues related to the  application of new technologies in the work and refresher workshops for foundational  teaching.  Kur also conducted a  two day pre-conference workshop based upon his text, STAGE DIALECT STUDIES, which applies Lessac Kinesensics to dialect acquisition.  He was honored at the closing banquet with the Lessac Institute Leadership Award.


Crystal Robbins

CRYSTAL ROBBINS, (Santa Monica College, UCLA Extension, Woodbury University, TheatrePLAY), Certified Lessac Trainer,  dialect coached J.M. Barrie's The Old Lady Shows Her Medals, which was selected to perform at the Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival Western Regionals.  She also just presented at the 9th Annual Lessac Conference in State College, PA, on technology and voice warm-ups, sharing the results of her recent grant.  Recently, she directed Hamlet in an outdoor setting with 45 children between the ages of 7 and 17 with the Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute at Woodbury University and offered "in-kind" services to a local elementary school who received a Burbank Arts For All grant.


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VASTA Board of Directors & Officers

Board of Directors

Mandy Rees
President 2012-2014

Patty Raun
Past President 2012-2014

Lynn Watson
President Elect 2012-2014





Michael J. Barnes

Hilary Blair

Cynthia Bassham

Guy William Molnar

Adrianne Moore

Judith Shahn

Krista Scott

Judylee Vivier


Melanie Julien 

Antonio Ocampo-Guzman

Jeff Morrison
Editor, The Voice & Speech Review

Tara McAllister Viel
Associate Editor, The Voice & Speech Review

Thrasso Petras
Director of Membership

Associate Director of Membership

Rena Cook
Co-Director of Annual Conferences

Jane Boston
Co-Director of Annual Conferences

John Graham
ATHE Conference Planner 2014 - 2016

Associate ATHE Conference Planner

Adriano Cabral
Director of Technology/Internet Service

Joshua Miller
Associate Director of Internet Services

 Associate Officers

Amy Stoller
Internet Resources Manager

Flloyd Kennedy
Officer for International Resources

Zachary Campion
VASTA Archive Catalogist 2011 - 2013

Brad Gibson



Committee Chairs

Barry Kur
Chair, Awards and Grants Committee

Michelle Lopez-Rios
Chair, Diversity Committee

Joanna Battles & Tamara Meneghini
Chair, Outreach Committee

Joanna Cazden
Chair, Teaching and Learning Committee

Amy Mihyang Ginther
International Committee




Contact Information Available at VASTA.ORG

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