The VASTA Voice

Volume 12, Issue 1

Table of Contents:

A Message from the President

Betty Moulton

Betty Moulton

Hello again,

In these winter months, we can rely on the warmth of our friends and colleagues in the Voice world. I am lucky enough to be in Arizona for the winter months this year, and can feel the warmth on the back patio….


Registration is now open for our Singapore Conference!! Check out the full details about the city, venue and presenters on VASTA’s website. Don’t forget early registration provides a savings for members and non-members…


Here is a quick report on the fundraising initiative that Kendra Kingsbury carried out for VASTA’s Member-sponsored Conference Scholarship. Many members donated funds that were marked for matching donations from the Gates Foundation. While we are hoping that the full $685 amount raised by members will be matched, we can’t be sure that the Gates Foundation fund hadn’t reached its maximum before all our donations came in. We await the results. But many thanks to all who did donate at the end of 2016 and to Kendra who is still finishing up with the details needed to secure the funds. The donations will provide new opportunities to welcome members new and old to our conferences.  Please keep this fund in mind throughout the year when planning your charitable donations. The application procedure is being finalized and should be available on our website soon.


Remember the new Diversity and International scholarships for Grad students mentioned in my last message. We want to encourage all eligible members to apply.


There is an upcoming discussion and vote by the Board of Directors on VASTA’s investment policy. We have had great help from our Investment advisor and are so fortunate that our current membership will benefit from the foresight of past boards to manage finances wisely.  We are hoping to finalize a policy that allows us to draw on some interest from investment income. This would allow VASTA to use the funds toward the budget each year and would encourage new initiatives, such as new scholarships and grants, and outreach to other organizations.


As the Board voted in November to raise dues (after not having done so for 6 years) it’s a good time to go on the website to review all the benefits your membership brings. Take a look especially on the Awards and Grants menu- you may find a grant that would fit your research or travel plans well.


I’d like to finish off with some words about our Voice and Speech Review needs. As Jeff Morrison opined at the Chicago Conference, the move to an electronic VSR has changed our sense of when we submit articles- the deadlines are floating, rather than fixed every year for a paper edition- so it may be more difficult to stay motivated to get an article finished. I agree with him and want to encourage every member to take a good look at the work they are doing and realize that other members would love to hear about your projects, innovative methodologies, collaborations, research projects at various stages, guest visits that result in new connections etc. If you have given a workshop or spoken on a panel at one of our conferences, or at an ATHE or ASHA or Voice Foundation conference for example, there is valuable material to be shared in our journal. The editors are very generous in helping to shape articles so that they are inspiring examples of scholarly work in the field. Talk with colleagues in your place of work about collaborating on an article, get in touch with the editors with an idea that they can help develop, and connect with other VASTA members to kick around some ideas for an article.


Early on in VASTA’s life, writing was not necessarily a regular part of a practitioner’s life, but soon enough members felt they needed to share their ideas and practice through a focused journal. When we started the VSR, there was a great hunger to hear our own voices. Now that the organization is so much larger and reaches internationally, there is even more energy to be tapped to share our ideas through the VSR.


So I invite you to pick up a pen- figurative or real- and begin. We are all anxious to hear your voice.


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Letter from the Editor

Lisa Nathans

Greetings VASTAns,

After a little over a year as the Associate Editor, I am thrilled to be stepping into Josh's large shoes as I take over as the new Editor for The VASTA Voice! I'd also like to congratulate Josh as he steps into his role, as VASTA's new Social Media Content Manager!

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

This month I am also happy to introduce our NEW Associate Editor for The VASTA Voice, Lauren Murphy Yeoman. You can learn a little more about Lauren in the new associate introduction found below. Please also take a look at Lauren's member news introduction, as this blurb contains important information about some changes we are making to member news submissions in the hopes of making the newsletter more globally inclusive moving forward. 

I look forward to connecting with many of you over the next year! Happy voice-ing and speaking!

Warm best,

Lisa Nathans

Editor, The VASTA Voice

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New Associate Introduction 

Lauren Murphy Yeoman

Hello there, VASTA!

I am Lauren Murphy Yeoman, and I am thrilled to be serving as the new Associate Editor of The VASTA Voice.

I live in Los Angeles and teach Voice for the University of Southern California's MFA and BFA programs, as well as at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting, and the L.A. VoiceJoy Studio.

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

Till soon,

Lauren Murphy Yeoman

Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice 

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Ask VASTA MD: A response to questions from the VASTA membership

Yolanda D. Heman-Ackah, MD

Could you discuss formants more? My students have difficulty understanding what they are and how they work and why they matter to their voices.

When you sing and speak, your vocal folds vibrate.  They vibrate at the frequency of the note you are trying to produce. The sound passes from the vocal folds through the vocal tract (the upper part of the larynx where the false vocal folds are), the pharynx (just below the tongue base) the oropharynx (the back of the mouth where the tonsils and tongue base are), the mouth, the nose, and the sinuses.  As the sound passes through each of these areas, the sound waves bounce back and forth from wall to wall within the vocal tract.  As it does so, the original tone that was produced by the vocal folds begins to change ever so slightly in frequency, producing the “formant” frequencies.  There are about 5 different formant frequencies that can be produced by the vocal tract.  The 3rd and 4th ones are what people term the “singer’s formant” or the “singer’s ring.”  If you can manipulate the vocal tract to amplify these formants by changing your resonance patterns, it will help the voice be heard over other noise, such as that of an orchestra or band, because instruments do not have these formant frequencies, and the human ear can pick them up when the singer manipulates his/her vocal tract to produce the singer’s formant.


What are some of the most common performance-related stresses or strains or workplace related practices that result in injury or nodules that you see in your clinical practice, and what is your advice to avoid them?

The most common performance-related practice that results in injury to the vocal folds is continuing to perform when one has an upper respiratory tract infection that involves the vocal folds.  If the vocal folds are swollen from an infection or the throat is sore, it is best not to perform during the infection.  The second most common injury is not treating an excessive cough during an upper respiratory tract infection and just “waiting it out.”  A chronic cough, in and of itself, will cause nodules on the vocal folds, whether you are performing or not.  If a vocal performer has a cough from a cold or the flu, it is best to seek professional advice on how to settle the cough, than to continue to cough repetitively until the infection resolves. 

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Committee Chair Updates

Awards and Grants Committee: 2016 Dorothy Mennen Research/Development Grants Awarded

Barry Kur

 The VASTA Awards, Scholarships and Grants Committee is pleased to                announce that the 2016 recipients of the Dorothy Mennen                                Research/Development Grants were awarded to Jeremy Sortore, Assistant        Professor of Voice and Movement, Utah Valley University and Elizabeth (Betty)  Moulton, Professor Emerita, University of Alberta.

 Jeremy Sortore will utilize the funds in April 2017 to attend a 2-day  seminar/webinar in Transgender Voice and Communication Training for Voice  Clinicians hosted by Roosevelt University, Chicago.

 This grant will assist Betty Moulton to accept an invitation by Raphael Omondi,  the Executive Director and Founder of Ignite Afrika to join the creative team of  directors in Kisumu, Kenya, to observe and participate in a creative initiative  exploring “Old Stories in New Ways.”


The Committee wishes to express their appreciation to all those who applied for this grant and acknowledges the depth of research and professional development of our membership.

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Diversity Committee: Diversity Scholarship Information and Identity Cabaret

Cynthia DeCure

Our committee is proud to offer new opportunities for scholarships this year.

The Diversity and International Committees are proud to announce the 2017 VASTA Conference Diversity/International Scholarships. This year we have made some changes to the guidelines for the application and added scholarships specifically for graduate students.

VASTA as an organization values the benefit of hearing the voices and ideas of a diverse group of practitioners. These scholarships will provide an opportunity for practitioners from underrepresented or historically marginalized populations as well as International residents (outside of U.S. /Canada) to attend the VASTA Conference. This year the conference will be held in Singapore - August 4-8, 2017.   
These scholarships are intended for:
1.    Members who demonstrate a need
2.    Practitioners who have attended no more than one conference

VASTA will offer:
Diversity Scholarships: (U.S./Canada residents only)
•    One $750 scholarship to early career voice practitioners (adjuncts, lecturers, freelancers.)
•    One $500 scholarship to a graduate student
      (In addition, the conference fee will be waived for both awards)

International Scholarships: (Outside of Canada & the United States)
•    One $1000 Scholarship to an International voice practitioner
•    One $500 scholarship to an International graduate student
      (In addition, the conference fee will be waived.)

You are eligible for the Diversity Scholarship if:

You identify as a member of a diverse group (including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, differently-abled, and/or gender identification) and/or are a practitioner who is a non-native English speaker.

You are eligible for the International Scholarship if:

You reside outside of Canada & the United States.
Applicants for the Diversity/International Scholarships must submit the following:
1) A 2-page condensed C.V. (with contact info)
2) A statement which includes:
•    Affirmation that you meet the above requirements
•     Self-identification as a member of an international or diverse community
•    An explanation of how attending the conference would benefit your practice and career
3) Your Postal Service permanent mailing address
Applicants will be reviewed and voted on by members of the VASTA Diversity and International Committees, respectively. In the case of a tie, the Committee Chairs will make a final decision.
Scholarship recipients will be asked to write for the VASTA newsletter about their experience at the conference, or how their experience at the conference affected their subsequent work. Scholarship recipients will be invited to serve on the International Committee or the Diversity Committee.
Please Note: Applicants need not be current VASTA members. Please submit your materials in .doc or .pdf format via e-mail to Cynthia DeCure ( by the March 15, 2017 deadline. Please specify: Early career, graduate, International, International graduate in the subject memo of the email.

Identity Cabaret
This year’s 4th annual Identity Cabaret will be held on Tuesday, August 6 at 8:00pm during our conference in Singapore. The Identity Cabaret is an initiative of the Diversity Committee and has been one of the highlights of the conference for the past three years, and is dependent on the talents of VASTA members! You can sing, perform a poem or share a story—you choose. If you are interested in performing, please contact me at

Last year’s recipients of the scholarships are listed below. Read about their experiences at the Chicago Conference. 

VASTA Chicago 2016 gave the opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas about our profession with dear colleagues. It allowed me to build valuable networks and bridges with other teachers of voice and speech. I could only define the experience as transforming and inspiring. VASTA's approach to diversity and interculturalism is not merely a matter of being politically correct or complying with an agenda. Rather, it responds to an authentic aim of learning among equals and the spirit of growing not only as professionals but also as human beings. -Oscar Quiroz, 2016 VASTA Diversity Scholarship Recipient

VASTA Chicago 2016 was very inspiring for me to come into contact with many high-level voice professionals from all over the world, to interact with them sharing questions, and to have the opportunity to discover how many different voice methods do exist. I had the chance to come across other theatre methods where the artist’s emotional life is evaluated as a key factor in voice teaching; this made the VASTA Conference an essential experience to me. -Chiara Claudi, 2016 VASTA International Scholarship Recipient.
I look forward to announcing this year’s awardees.


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Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Joanna Battles & Tamara Meneghini 


From VASTA Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee Co-Chair, Joanna Battles:




Hello, VASTA Community, from the Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee!

Please join me in thanking the following VASTA members for volunteering their time and expertise during the regional conferences of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival: Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer, Amy Leavitt, Foster Johns, Gloria Martin, John Graham, Tammy Meneghini-Stalker, and Cynthia DeCure. In addition to offering a Voice and Speech focused workshop at each of the festivals, these volunteers adjudicated the “VASTA Award,” a performance certificate awarded to the student actor who best exemplifies superb vocal technique while embodying character.

Quick reminder to the VASTA community that we are currently accepting proposals for the Interdisciplinary Engagement Grant. If you, or someone you know, is interested in interdisciplinary study that could cross pollinate VASTA’s interests with other organizational institutions, please consider applying. For further info on application guidelines follow this link:

Lastly, World Voice Day is fast approaching on April 16. The Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee is in the early planning stages for VASTA participation in this international event. Have any brilliant ideas? Or know of any opportunities already forming for World Voice Day that VASTA may want to join? Please send ideas, thoughts, and comments to

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International Committee

Flloyd Kennedy- Committee Chair 








Soledad Figueroa Rodriguez is an actress at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with Minor in Contemporary History; and Master of Arts with a Major in Studies and Theatrical Practices of the same university. Researcher in areas like vocal studies, theatre history, and others. Attended a number of seminars and workshops in acting and vocal expression. Since 2010, Figueroa studies singing with chilean soprano Magdalena Amenábar. Soledad has performed as a singer in the antique music ensemble Magreb. She currently teaches at the Club de teatro Academy of Acting of Fernando González in the area of theatre history and at Duoc UC institute in the area of theatre and art history, and oral expression.

¿Por que hablar de Arte y Ciencia? Identidad, procesos cognitivos y corporizacion vocal

Por Soledad Figueroa Rodríguez

¿Que relacion puede existir entre el proceso cognitivo-motor y uno creativo con respecto a la voz? Tal vez todas las relaciones posibles, teniendo en cuenta que la voz es parte fundamental del cuerpo humano. El cuerpo es voz y la voz es cuerpo, tal como lo plantea Erika Fischer-Lichte en su Estetica de lo performativo (2014)

“La sonoridad genera siempre espacialidad y, como hemos visto no solo en el sentido de espacio atmosferico. La vocalidad, ademas, produce siempre corporalidad. Con y en la voz se originan los tres tipos de materialidad: la corporalidad, la espacialidad y la sonoridad.” (p.255)

¿Puede entonces la voz como materialidad construir identidad? O de una manera mas especifica ¿puede construir o contribuir a la construccion identitaria de un individuo o de un colectivo?
Preguntas similares fueron las que se pusieron sobre la mesa en la II Conferencia sobre Arte y Ciencia organizada por el Nucleo de Investigacion Vocal. El foco, tal como lo indica su nombre, estuvo puesto en la voz y su dimension como materialidad creativa, terapeutica y ontologica. En esta ocasion, la conferencia se titulo Procesos creativos, procesos cognitivos: perspectivas interdisciplinarias en torno a la voz, realizandose los dias 25 y 26 de octubre del presente año. Mas de 250 personas se dieron cita en dos dias dedicados en su exclusiva al fenomeno vocal.

El encuentro, que conto con destacadas personalidades del mundo de la fonoaudiologia, el teatro y la ingenieria en sonido, estuvo dividido en dos ejes que marcaron la pauta de reflexion y discusion.

El primer dia llevopor nombre (De) construccion de identidad a partir de la experiencia vocal en el proceso creativo. En el, los expositores intentaron desentrañar que se ha ido entendiendo por el concepto de identidad y como este se relaciona con la voz y, por ende, con el proceso creativo vocal. Es asi, como se generaron reflexiones desde la filosofia y los estudios culturales, pasando por la experiencia en el aula y la direccion teatral del enfrentamiento yo-actor/ yo-ser humano, hasta llegar a elementos propios de la puesta en escena y la crítica teatral. Las problematicas que conlleva el concepto llevaron a que la discusion, que se inicio desde una mirada mas relacionada con el fenomeno vocal, arribara a cuestiones mas bien creativas y criticas escenicas que se alejaban un poco de la voz en si. Sin embargo, toda esta busqueda, dio paso a lo que seria la segundo dia de conferencias.

El ultimo dia, titulado Reflexion en torno a los procesos cognitivos en la exploracion vocal abordo el fenomeno desde visiones mas especificas sobre el trabajo de la voz propiamente tal. Se partio la reflexion desde la perspectiva fonoaudiologica de acuerdo a la habilidad innata de la exploracion vocal en infantes, para luego continuar con el trabajo terapeutico en diversas areas, particularmente en actores. Finalmente, se sumo la vision del aprendizaje vocal en relacion al ambito creativo en las carreras de teatro, teniendo como cierre las indagaciones de las propiedades de la voz desde la perspectiva del sonido.

Por todo lo anterior ¿que reflexiones e inquietudes son las resultantes de este encuentro, uno de los pocos en su indole a nivel chileno y, tal vez, latinoamericano? El interes por el fenomeno vocal y su eje interdisciplinario en Chile pareciese ser cada vez mayor, eso lo refleja la alta convocatoria de publico que la conferencia recibio en esta segunda version. La importancia de fomentar el trabajo colaborativo entre las areas cientifico-artisticas es fundamental, tal como lo dijo uno de los expositores el primer dia de encuentro: “Validar la experiencia como fuente de conocimiento”. Es decir, no solo lo medible desde un aspecto cuantificable y positivista es legitimo en la elaboracion de conocimiento, particularmente en la investigacion, si no que la experiencia debe ser entendida como un eje fundamental en la construccion del mismo. Dentro de esa misma perspectiva, la sucesion de conferencias que el Nucleo se ha planteado realizar, responde al trabajo retroalimentativo ya mencionado, el cual genera conocimiento en un campo que aun queda mucho por explorar. Es por ello que las reflexiones que surgieron de esta estancia son esenciales, sembrandose preguntas como ¿la voz se aprende o solo responde a ejes de habilidad innatos? ¿Son elementos conjuntos aprendizaje-habilidad? ¿Que ocurre con el proceso del actor/actriz cuando se enfrenta o relaciona con su voz? Desde el ambito formativo, ¿que significa lo bueno y lo malo en una voz? ¿Como influye la experiencia y la historia de cada cual en su biografia vocal? ¿Como se ve esa relacion o enfrentamiento entre la voz audible y la voz pensante en el momento de exposicion como interprete?, etc.

Sin duda, son muchas las interrogantes y germenes de indagacion que surgen en estos dos dias de encuentro. Es por ello que una de las necesidades del Nucleo recae en producir mas y nuevas plataformas de discusion, investigacion y creacion en torno al fenomeno de lo vocal y su interdisciplinariedad. Ampliando asi las recepciones y contribuciones de las diversas areas en torno al fenomeno. Entendiendo a la voz no tan solo como una parte mas del cuerpo, sino que como cuerpo en su totalidad que merece la pena ser desentrañado. 


Why talk about Art and Science? Identity, cognitive processes, and vocal embodiment (English Translation of above article)


By Soledad Figueroa Rodríguez

What relations can exist between the cognitive-motor process and the creative one with respect to voice? There may be possible ones if we think voice is a fundamental part of the human body. Body is voice and voice is body, Erika Fischer-Lichte proposes at Estética de lo performativo (2014).

“Sonority always generates spatiality, and – as we have seen – not just in atmospheric space sense. Moreover, vocality always produces corporality. With and in voice, three materiality types are originated:  corporality, spatiality, and sonority” (p.255).

Then, can voice – like materiality – build identity? Or more specifically, can it build or contribute to individual or collective identity construction? 

Similar questions were put on the table in “II Conference about Art and Science”. It was organized by Núcleo de Investigación Vocal (Vocal Research Nucleus). The focus was placed on the voice and its impact in creative, therapeutic and ontological materiality. The conference was called “Creative processes, cognitive processes: interdisciplinary perspectives around voice” and took place on October 25 and 26, 2016. More than 250 people came together for two days dedicated to the vocal phenomenon exclusively.

The meeting was divided along two lines  directed towards reflection and discussion. In those lines, outstanding personalities of Speech and Language Therapy (SLT), Theatre, and Sound Engineer participated in the conference.  

The theme for the first day was Identity (de) construction from vocal experience in the creative process. During the day, exponents tried to unravel what has been understood by identity concept and how it is related to voice, and thus with the vocal creative process. In this way, many thoughts were generated from philosophy and cultural studies. These included the experience of actor-self/human-self confrontation in classroom and theatrical direction, and staging and theatrical criticism elements. Identity concept is so complex  that initial discussions (related to the vocal phenomenon) derived in more creative and scenic criticism issues. Consequently, the discussion was moved away from the voice itself. Nevertheless, all of that provided inspiration for the second day.

The theme for the final day was Reflection on Cognitive Processes in vocal exploration. The vocal phenomenon was approached from more specific visions on voice work.  Ideas were shared from the SLT perspective where the innate ability of vocal exploration in children was examined. Then, therapeutic work was discussed, relating to actors particularly. Later vocal learning in acting schools and its relation with creative scope was explored. Finally the discussions centred around voice properties from sound perspective. 

From the above: what are some thoughts and concerns obtained as a result of this meeting? It was one of the few of its nature at the Chilean and, perhaps, Latin American level.

Interest in the vocal phenomenon and its interdisciplinary axis in Chile seemed to be increasing. This can be observed in the high call from people to hold the conference. The importance of fostering collaborative work between the scientific and artistic areas is fundamental as one participant said on first day. Then he added: "Validate the experience as a source of knowledge". Accordingly, it is not just what can be measured from a quantifiable and positivistic aspect that is legitimate in the elaboration of knowledge, particularly in research. As well, the experience should be understood as a fundamental axis in the construction of knowledge..

Within the same perspective, the succession of lectures that the Nucleus has set out to do, responds to the feedback work already mentioned, which generates knowledge in a field that still has much to explore. Thus ideas that emerged in this instance are essential and they invite us to think: is voice learned? Or does it just respond to innate ability? Are learning and ability joint elements? What is happening with the actor/actress process when he/she is faced with concepts of good and bad in his/her voice? From a formative aspect, what is good and bad in voice? How does experience and personal history influence vocal biography? How can we see the connection/confrontation between audible voice and thinking voice in exposed moment such as performance? Etc.

Definitely, there are so many questions. A lot of inquiry seeds emerged in these two days. As a result one of Nucleus’s needs is to produce more and new opportunities to discuss, research, and create around vocal phenomenon and its interdisciplinarity. This allows for enlarging receptions and contributions from different areas on the voice. Thus voice is understood as totally body not just as a part of a body. Therefore voice deserves to be unraveled.

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Freelance Coaching Column

Marina Tyndall & Lucinda Worlock

Hello VASTAns!

Are you a Freelance Coach? Would you like to write an article for the Freelance Coaching Column? Or do you have a topic about Freelance Coaching that is of interest to you? Please let us know by emailing your suggestions and queries to Thank you!


The VASTA Voice

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Tech Corner

Irene O'Mara

Dear VASTA Community,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our NEW Tech Corner Columnist to you, Irene O'Mara! Irene is thrilled to be taking over this column from the fabulous Keely Wolter. Please email your 'Tech Corner' inquiries and ideas to Irene by following this link. 

Thank you!

The VASTA Voice

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Conference and Membership Updates

VASTA Conference- Singapore: The Art of Storytelling  

Micha Espinosa & Rachel Hirshorn

The 31st Annual VASTA Conference, ”The Art of Storytelling," will be held August 4th – 8th, 2017 at the LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore.

If you haven’t already, check out our Welcome Packet, which includes pages and pages of details, including discounted hotel room blocks for VASTA members, flight information, local attractions, and much, much more. If you are joining us from far away, it’s actually not a complicated trip, nor exceptionally pricey!  Please be sure to read Kendra Kingsbury’s Singapore travel Pointers from the November 2016 VASTA Newsletter.  If you have any additional travel-related questions, contact Kyan NG, our on-site coordinator.

We have booked an incredibly unique, international line-up of Feature Presenters, which will be followed by two days of member presentations, workshops, panels and papers on Monday and Tuesday. Rachel Hirshorn & Beth Gudenrath will be contacting all member presenters by February 20th with notification of acceptance.  Final room, time, and date assignments will be distributed in May.

We are still seeking YOUR VOICE for the annual Identity Cabaret on Tuesday, August 6th at 8pm!  Please contact Cynthia DeCure to sign up!

Singapore should be beautiful in August – very temperate (mid-80s), possibly a bit wet.  Bring an umbrella!

Finally, Singapore will be celebrating National Day on August 9th, 2017, the day after the conference closes.  If I were you, I’d stick around and enjoy the festivities with us!

Looking forward to seeing many new and familiar faces!

Your 2017 VASTA Singapore Conference Planning Committee,

Micha, Aole, Rachel, Beth, & Kate

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Lessac Institute Holds Annual Conference

Barry Kur

The Lessac Research and Training Institute held its 2017 Conference on the campus of Penn State University at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, January 4-6.  The conference was titled “Optimizing Your Life” and was dedicated to the memorable life and accomplishments of Sue Ann Park, VASTA Distinguished Life Member. Sue Ann was the Senior Director of Training Emerita of the Lessac Institute.

On Wednesday, January 4, pre–conference workshops in Sustaining Certification with Master Teachers, Deborah Kinghorn and Nancy Krebs and Kinsensic Training in Stage Dialects with Master Teacher Barry Kur, were held in the studios of the Penn State School of Theatre.  That evening the full conference began with a reception at the School of Theatre.

During the next two days, member presentations were offered at the conference center hotel.  Presentation formats included active workshops and panel presentations of research.  The topics included Kinesensic teaching pedagogy, integration of Lessac work with related movement/voice disciplines, and application of the Lessac work to well-being and mindfulness.  This year’s presentations had a particular stream of focus on therapeutic benefits of Lessac work dealing with trauma relief, asthma, and working with intellectually disabled students.  Members addressed the application of the Lessac work to theatre performance of Shakespeare, actor improvisation, and reading/learning enrichment of young students.

The conference concluded with a banquet where members were acknowledged for achieving Practitioner and Certified Trainer designations.  The Lessac Institute Leadership award was presented to Mary Thomas Sala.   The “keynote” event was a memorial celebration of the life of Sue Ann Park. Members shared reflections and recollections of their association with Sue Ann with a spirit of love and humor.

Information about the Lessac Institute’s events may be found at its website,


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Kristi Dana

VASTA is gearing up to be a part of ATHE's exciting 2017 Conference, Spectacle: balancing education, theory, and praxis to be held August 3-6 in Las Vegas! 

Some important things to watch out for:
- For those who submitted a proposal, decisions are going out mid-February. If accepted, please read the instructions in the email you receive from ATHE very carefully and please note the following: 

- All updates, changes to content (25 word descriptions), title, role and participant edits for each of the sessions MUST go through myself, Kristi Dana, Conference Planner: and be sure to cc Megan Chang, Associate Conference Planner:

- The 25-word description will be the ONLY content used for the program and the App.  Abstracts will NOT be used.  You should be working with Megan and me to ensure correct content in the program and the app. 

For all VASTA members attending ATHE, Additional Call for Proposals will open soon! Details to be posted on: These will include: 

- Call for a Plenary Panel 

- Call for Performances! - ATHE after dark & Enchantment by the pool 

Finally, VASTA @ ATHE attendees, as soon as the schedule comes out, be sure to mark your calendars for the VASTA Focus Group Meetings and our VASTA Happy Hour.

Can't wait to see VASTA members at ATHE - Vegas Baby!


Kristi Dana
Officer, VASTA Focus Group Conference Planner at ATHE

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Member News

Lauren Murphy Yeoman

Lisa NathansHello again VASTA Members!

As our member base continues to expand globally, member news will be shared through an Alphabetical by last name process rather than a regional process. For the February issue we have included news from members with Last Names from A-E.  

Looking ahead:

April: Members with Last Names from F-J, submissions due by Friday March 31st
July: Members with Last Names from K-O, submissions due by Friday June 30th
September: Last Names from P-T, submissions due by Thursday August 31st
November: Last Names from U-Z, submissions due by Tuesday October 31st

Please adhere to the following formatting when preparing your news:

Font: Times New Roman, 12 Font

YOUR NAME IN ALL CAPS (Location City, State or Country)

Book Titles: italics

Play Titles: italics

Articles: quotation marks

Journals: italics

Sample Submission:

JOE ALBERTI, PHD (Albuquerque, NM) is wrapping up his first year as Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico.  His book, Acting: The Gister Method was published and released in January by Penguin Academic, and is available on line.  Joe is about to enter his third year of Alexander Technique teacher training, which he is due to complete in 2014.  He is also working on a second book that offers a multidisciplinary approach to listening for actors, directors, and trainers, The Other Side of Performance:  A Theory of Listening for Actors. This summer he will continue his part-time work on the faculty at Shakespeare&Co.


Thank you!

Lauren Murphy Yeoman

Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice

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BARBARA ADRIAN, MFA (New York, NY) co-edited with Mary Fleischer, PHD the second edition of Movement for Actors (Allworth Press, 2016). Building on the first edition edited by Nicole Potter, Barbara and Mary added new chapters by six additional authors. The Laban Workbook for Actors: A Practical Training Guide with Video (Bloomsbury Methuen) will hit the market place in November 2017. Barbara is writing this book with co-authors: Katya Bloom, Tom Casciero, Jennifer Mizenko, and Claire Porter. Barbara is Professor of Theatre Arts at Marymount Manhattan College and an Associate Artist and Resident Voice and Speech Coach with the Off-Broadway theatre New York Classical Theatre.


ERIC ARMSTRONG (Toronto, ON) continues as the primary voice teacher at York University, teaching in the BFA and MFA programs. Having received funding from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Eric is proud to be working with colleague (and former student) Shannon Vickers of the University of Winnipeg on “Best Practices in Accent Training for Indigenous Actors." Currently, Eric and Shannon are taking a course offered by the University of British Columbia via edX called "Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education”—highly recommended. Eric’s article “Efficacy in Phonetics Training for the Actor,” should be appearing in the Voice and Speech Review shortly. Inspired by a year-long seminar on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the paper explores how he researched the impact of Knight-Thompson teaching methodologies and incorporated them into his voice classes. The Expanse, Season 2, featuring Belter accents that Eric created and coached, is now airing on SyFy in the US and Space channel in Canada. Other projects this year include: coaching the Mandarin and other accents required for RMTC/Canadian Stage’s production of Chimerica; coaching the understudies for The Audience, for Mirvish Productions; coaching the British actors’ American accents for the musical The Bodyguard, for Mirvish; TV projects on State Like Sleep, Heroes Reborn, 12 Monkeys, and 11.22.63; and his presentation with York Voice Teacher Diploma alumna Alicia Richardson on Jamaican accents as part of the "Accents of the African Diaspora” panel at this summer’s VASTA conference in Chicago. This summer Eric looks forward to the VASTA conference in Singapore, where he hopes to present on the early results from our Focus Groups on the accent needs of indigenous performers. Eric is seeking funding to bring Indigenous storytelling techniques to York, and plans on further decolonizing his teaching practice.

ROBIN ARONSON (University of Southern Mississippi) most recently served as vocal coach for The Tempest Reimagined project with the Philippine Educational Theatre Association in Manila under RADA director, Nona Shepphard. This semester Robin is working with international intern and MFA Voice Studies student, Penelope Larkins from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia under the direction of Katerina Moraitis, Head of Voice. Robin is currently serving as President for the Lessac Training and Research Institute and was nominated for a College of Arts and Letters Research Award from Southern Miss.


ANA CRISTINA (GIGI) BUFFINGTON, New York, New York, has been promoted to Associate Arts Professor, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She coached, The Merchant Of Venice, for the Five Hundred Year Anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto, and Four Hundred Year Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, in Venice, Italy, in a co-production by Compagnia de Colombari and Ca Foscari, with an international acting company. She is the Steppenwolf Theater Company vocal coach for the 2016- 17 Main Stage season: Visiting Edna, (world premiere), by David Rabe, directed by Anna Shapiro; The Christians, by Lucas Hnath, Directed by K. Todd Freeman; Linda Vista, by Tracy Letts, directed by Dexter Bullard; HIR, by Taylor Mac, directed by Hallie Gordon. For Red Bull Theater Company, she coached, Coriolanus, directed by Michael Sexton. She coached Bedlam Theatre Company’s equity workshop of, King Lear, scheduled for production in the Fall 2017, directed by Eric Tucker. In May, she will direct Jean Genet’s, The Maids, for American Players Theatre Company, followed by coaching, Pericles, directed by Eric Tucker.

ELISA CARLSON (Atlanta) is in her sixth year as Professor of Theatre at the University of North Georgia.  Last fall she coached several feature films, and directed a staged reading of Lauren Gunderson’s wonderful new play The Book of Will  for Theater Emory.  This winter she is coaching several productions at the Alliance Theatre including the new play The Temple Bombing, written and directed by Jimmy Maize of Tectonic Theater Company.   She is also in the midst of both directing and acting in GTA’s Much Ado About Nothing.



MEREDITH COLBY (CHICAGO, IL)’s book, Money Notes: How to Sing High, Loud, Healthy, and Forever was published by WiseInk Creative Publishing in September of this year. The book introduces Neuro-Vocal Method, voice training for singers of popular styles which uses brain science to deliver fast and efficient results. Money Notes features fMRI images that illustrate the theory behind the method. Intentionally nonacademic, the book speaks to singers who work, or aspire to work, in contemporary genres. Meredith has created support materials - videos and MP3’s - for the book on her web site,, The first Neuro-Vocal Method certification class was held in Omaha, NE in October, and another is scheduled for January in Chicago. Meredith has been teaching private voice in the Chicago area for twenty-seven years, was a busy freelance singer for twenty years, and continues to sing both live and in the studio.

MARY COY, DLT (Washington, DC) recently served as dialect coach for Arena Stage’s Lillian Hellman Festival productions of Watch on the Rhine and Little Foxes. She continues to grow her private coaching practice in the DC area.

CYNTHIA DeCURE (Central California) completed her first semester as Assistant Professor of Theatre (Acting, Voice/Speech) at California State University, Stanislaus. She dialect coached In the Heights at Phoenix Theatre in Arizona. She also coached two academic productions, Balm in Gilead and Sincerity Forever.This semester she is directing a departmental production of Yerma by Federico García Lorca interweaving the Spanish text with the English translation. Cynthia also represented VASTA at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre (Region 8) Festival, judging and selecting the VASTA award recipient. This summer she will be teaching in the Fitzmaurice Certification in Barcelona, Spain, as well as presenting, at ATHE, a paper (entitled “When You’re Home”: Linguistic Identity, Accents and Representation in In the Heights) as part of the “Staging Latinx Musicals in the Post-Hamilton era” panel.


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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

Kim Bey

D'Arcy Smith





Natasha Staley  

Artemis Preeshl

Jeff Morrison
Editor, The Voice & Speech Review

Tara McAllister Viel
Associate Editor, The Voice & Speech Review

Lisa Nathans
Editor, The VASTA Voice

Lauren Murphy Yeoman
Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice

Thrasso Petras
Director of Membership

Micha Espinosa & Aole Miller
Director of Annual Conferences

Kristi Dana
ATHE Conference Planner
Megan Chang
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/Internet Service 

James Macon Grant
Associate Director of Technololgy/Internet Service
2015 -

Yolanda Heman-Ackah

 Associate Officers

Amy Stoller
Editor, VASTA Links Page

Flloyd Kennedy
Editor, Workshop & Events Page

Janet B. Rodgers
VASTA Archive Catalogist 

Brad Gibson

Judd Johnson
Social Media Manager

Josh Moser
Social Media Content Manager







Committee Chairs

Barry Kur
Chair, Awards and Grants Committee

Cynthia DeCure
Chair, Diversity Committee

Joanna Battles & Tamara Meneghini
Chair, Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Diane Robinson
Chair, Teaching and Learning Committee

Flloyd Kennedy
Chair, International Committee




Contact Information Available at VASTA.ORG


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©2010, Voice and Speech Trainers Association