The VASTA Voice

Volume 14, Issue 2

JUNE 2019

Table of Contents:

A Message from the President

Michael Barnes

Betty Moulton

Greetings VASTAns,

Happy June!  It’s the beginning of summer, which means that Kendra Kingsbury and her conference-planning team are hard at work.  I am looking forward to the many presentations our members will give in Orlando this August. Every year, our membership comes up with some special presentations that show amazing creativity and ingenuity for training the voice, for better teaching text, or for better communicating one's inner self. Most of all, I look forward to the Identity Cabaret. If you have been developing a performance piece or have something that truly speaks to your heart, you may want to test it out in front of one of the most supportive audiences you will ever encounter.

Some of you received my recent email about issues with our database, explaining that the automatic messages reminding you to pay your annual VASTA dues had not been going out and reminding you to renew your VASTA membership. Thank you to those of you who renewed after receiving this message. Unfortunately, some of you who were already up-to-date with your membership may have mistakenly received a different email stating that your membership had lapsed.  Those messages are automatically generated by the system and may have mistakenly identified you. The confusion is the result of faulty scripts within the automatic functioning of our database program. Please rest assured that the company that programs and maintains our database is working hard to solve the problems. However, a few more emails may need to go out before everything is resolved.

If you receive the message and you believe it is error, please get in touch with Nancy Bos, our Director of Operations. She can be reached at With that, I’m going to point to the next step of my letter. I realized that we had mentioned Nancy’s joining the organization but that I hadn’t given her a great VASTA introduction, so I decided to do an interview with her to include in this publication.  I have greatly enjoyed getting to know Nancy, and I think you’ll be glad to learn a bit about her background and experience as well. 

Be well. See you in Orlando!


Michael Barnes: You came to VASTA with an amazing skill set. You were accomplished in office work and project management but also ran your own voice studio.  Can you tell us when and how you became interested in voice and how you transitioned into management work?

Nancy Bos: I can credit my parents with two of the three main skills I’ve put to use in my professional life. My dad gets credit for the business sense. He was a traveling salesman for a bank supply company. He had an office in our basement and was an amazing example of entrepreneurship. He also taught me that every good business person needs to be able to choose between Gin & Tonic and Whiskey on the Rocks; high priorities for a business man of the ‘80’s.

My mom gave me the teaching gene. She started out as a school teacher but quit to be a stay-at-home mom. She couldn’t close the door on teaching all together. She taught Sunday School, Catechism, math to kids in juvenile detention, and eventually a GED program.

As for voice, that one is all mine. I’m the first professional singer and speaker in the family.

I graduated from Luther college with a degree in Arts Management but it was during a dark time in the arts when the NEA was being slashed. I couldn’t find a job and ended up managing a Lady Foot Locker. But it was good - I learned a lot and made good money. A few years later I became an independent singing teacher and eventually studied project management and opened StudioBos Media.

MB: How did you first learn of VASTA and what attracted you to the job?

NB: I first learned about VASTA because of PAVA. I’m a vocologist and the Seattle conference brought VASTA to my attention. I was so impressed and refreshed by the VASTA people - really, you are an amazing community!

At the time the job was listed I was moving to a new town and was looking for remote work. It seemed unbelievable that an organization I already loved was hiring for a job that had been my dream since college. The stars aligned - finally.

MB: Are there any things you are enjoying as you’ve begun working with VASTA?

NB: VASTA does a great job of remembering that it is all about the people; the people who make up the membership and the people they serve. There is so much heart and generosity in the VASTA leaders, and every contact I’ve had with a VASTA member outside of leadership has been filled with respect and congeniality. I can’t wait for the next conference so I can get to know even more of the VASTA family.

MB: You live in the Seattle area of Washington; have you been in this area your entire life?  If not, where else have you been?

NB: I’ve lived in the Seattle area; Issaquah, Bellevue, and Kingston, for 22 years. Since this part of the country is so young, that pretty much counts for being a local. Before that we lived in Los Alamos, NM. That’s where I became a singing teacher and also managed the Arts Council and Fuller Lodge. Prior to NM, I bounced around the upper Midwest. I was raised in South Dakota, went to college in Iowa, and worked in St. Paul/Mpls for a couple of years. Now my parents live in Omaha and I get back about 3 times a year.

MB: Do you have any hobbies?  What do you like to do outside of you studio and working times?  

NB: Mostly my hobbies are so closely related to work that it’s hard to tell them apart; singing and writing are my idea of fun. I like to garden a lot; I always feel a day has been a good day if I have time in the garden. I adore biking, although the hills around here kill me, and I recently picked up a longboard skateboard.

MB: Is there any last thing you’d like to tell our membership?

NB: The work the members of VASTA do is so important - essential really. The world may be surprised about who we are and what we do, but anyone who has experienced our world of voice knows that we are changing lives for the better every day. I’m deeply proud to be a part of this community and the world of voice.

About Nancy - Nancy is the author of five books including Singing 101, Cantar 101, and The Teen Girl’s Singing Guide. She’s currently writing a book with Joanne Bozeman and Cate Frazier-Neely called Singing Through Change: Women’s Voices in Midlife, Menopause, and Beyond.  All are published through her company, StudioBos Media, which also hosts her podcast, Every Sing. She enjoys being a voiceover artist and speaker’s coach, and is the Vice President for Membership for the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

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Letter from the Editor

Hollace Starr 


Photo of Hollace Starr, Editor of VASTA VoiceHello again to VASTAns near and far!

I am so excited to share the June issue of The VASTA Voice with you. This issue of our quarterly newsletter is a wonderful example of the collective wisdom of this tremendous organization.  From key updates from our hard-working conference planners, to scholarship and award announcements (congrats to all the winners!), to details about several conversational Zoom meetings that can inspire you to learn and grow, June’s VASTA Voice is chock-full of great information, new ideas, and important updates from your fellow members.

Be sure not to miss our special columns, the first from our resident MD Yolanda D. Heman-Ackah about Oropharyngeal pH Testing, and the other from our freelance columnist Meredith Colby about the “how-to’s” of self-promotion.  You will also want to read the update from our newly formed committees: the Financial Oversight Committee, which describes its relationship with our new Director of Operations, Nancy Bos (welcome Nancy!) and the Mentorship Initiative Committee which is developing new structures to create mentor/mentee relationships between VASTA members. And, please, if you have an idea for a special column for The VASTA Voice, email me your pitch any time.

Summer is a busy time around VASTA.  In addition to pointing out the many goings-on outlined in this issue, I would like to bring your attention to the VASTA board elections, which are taking place this month.  Be sure to watch your email inbox for the roster of nominees and for the ballot itself. Let’s stay connected to one another, to this organization, and to the world… through voice!

Hollace Starr

Editor, The VASTA Voice


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A Message From the Associate Editor

Ann Marie Pollard

Happy Summer from your VASTA Voice Associate Editor!

I am writing from Omaha, Nebraska where I am in rehearsals for Nebraska Shakespeare’s productions of All’s Well that Ends Well and Hamlet. This #femaleforward summer season features the first all-female cast to grace the boards at Nebraska Shakes (All’s Well) as well as a female-identifying Hamlet, Laertes, and Polonius. With this heightened consciousness of gender in my daily experience and the purposeful creation of space for women in the rehearsal room, I am acutely aware of the women in our organization who, with courage and strength, vulnerability and openness, are setting examples of leadership for new members.

From Hollace Starr, the editor from whom I will learn for the next six months, to Betty Moulton who from within the board and from within her place in the presidential line gives guidance to "Early Career Leaders" Joe Hetterly and me, and from our current and upcoming conference directors to the folks who are spearheading the emerging mentorship collective, female-identifying leaders are joining together with with people all along the gender spectrum to do great work within our organization. I am humbled to witness how this ever-evolving association searches for ways to make space for all voices.

Speaking of ever-evolving: be sure to check out our Member News section where updates from fellow members disclose new positions, post-retirement developments, and interdisciplinary pursuits.

Thank you for sharing your work with the world!

Until September,

Ann Marie

Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice


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Yolanda D. Heman-Ackah, MD, MS, FACS

What is 24 hour Oropharyngeal pH Testing and Why Should I Care?


Laryngopharyngeal reflux commonly causes reflux laryngitis, which can cause issues with inflammation in the larynx and of the vocal folds.  Such inflammation can predispose to vocal fold injury and the formation of nodules, polyps, and cysts on the vocal fold. If left untreated long-term, reflux laryngitis can contribute to cellular changes in the larynx that are precursors to laryngeal cancer.  These precancerous cells can then later convert to cancerous cells, especially if there is continued exposure to acid in the larynx. Because reflux has been shown to contribute to the development of laryngeal cancer, when most laryngologists diagnose it, treatment is typically recommended.  The risk of development of laryngeal cancer from years of untreated reflux laryngitis far outweighs any risks or possible risks related to taking medications commonly used to treat reflux disease. To date, all of the controlled studies looking at complications associated with taking reflux medications long-term do not show any significant complications from proton pump inhibitor medications (which are commonly used to treat reflux laryngitis).1   There have been some reports of correlations between the long-term use of proton pump inhibitor medications and increased risk of fractures, pneumonia, Clostridium difficile diarrhea, low magnesium levels, vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic kidney disease, and dementia.  However, most of the published evidence is inadequate to establish a definite association between PPI use and the risk for development of these or other serious adverse effects. Nonetheless, the general recommendation is for physicians to use the lowest effective dose of proton pump inhibitors to treat reflux disease.

In prior years, laryngologists and general otolaryngologists would begin treatment of reflux laryngitis with a proton pump inhibitor (such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, pantoprazole, or rabeprazole) twice daily and a Histamine 2 receptor blocker (such as ranitidine or famotidine) at bedtime and continue the patient on this dose of medication long-term because this is the dose found to be most effective for most people with reflux laryngitis.  However, there is a subset of individuals who need less than this dose and there is a subset that needs more than this dose. If the individual fails to respond appropriately enough over the course of 3-6 months, then the dose may be increased to doses as high as 4 times a day of the proton pump inhibitor with the Histamine 2 receptor blocker at bedtime. This form of trial and error treatment is termed “empiric treatment” and has been the mainstay of treatment of reflux laryngitis for years.

An alternative approach to empiric treatment with reflux medications is to measure the amount of acid that comes into the laryngeal region over the course of 24 – 48 hours.  A convenient way of doing so is with the use of 24-hour oropharyngeal pH testing (RestechTM).  The test involves the placement of a small probe that is the thickness and pliability of the cord used for earbuds into the nose.  The tip of the probe sits at the back of the mouth, at the level of the uvula. Because it sits higher in the mouth than where food goes for swallowing, it does not interfere with eating and is more comfortable than the traditional probes used for pH testing that are placed into the esophagus from the nose.   The patient records, via an electronic diary, when he/she has symptoms, when he/she eats, and when he/she lies down. The study correlates changes in pH with the presence of symptoms. Because symptoms of reflux in the larynx often are not heartburn, the test allows the physician to add “custom” symptoms that the patient may be experiencing to the diary and correlate these with reflux episodes.  Examples of symptoms that can be studied include: voice changes, hoarseness, throat clearing, mucus in throat, postnasal drip, nasal congestion, cough, difficulty breathing, among others. The following figure is an actual pH study from a patient, showing that she has significant laryngopharyngeal reflux throughout the day that is worsened by meals. Normal pH in the throat should be between 6.5 to 8.0.  Any pH level below this is significant. Any pH below 5.5 is considered severe.


In this study, the patient coughed 8 times and had mucus in her throat (MUC) once.  All of these were associated with reflux episodes. During this study, the patient was taking ranitidine at bedtime.  It was ineffective in treating her reflux disease, and the pH testing helped to guide the adequate timing and dosage of her reflux medications.  For those on reflux medications with persistent symptoms, pH testing can help to guide the further management of the reflux disease and possibly point out that reflux is not the cause of the symptoms or inflammation – prompting the physician to look for other causes.  For those not yet on reflux medications, the testing can help to confirm the presence or absence of reflux disease prior to the initiation of treatment, thus eliminating trial therapy in those who don’t need it and more accurately targeting therapy in those who do.



1.     Nehra AK, Alexander JA, Loftus CG, Nehra V.  Proton Pump Inhibitors: Review of Emerging Concerns, Mayo Clinic Proceedings.  February 2018: Volume 93, Issue 2, Pages 240–246.


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Committee Chair Updates and Columns

Awards and Grants Committee

Committee Chair: Kimberly Monhe Hill


The VASTA Awards, Scholarship and Grants Committee wishes to announce that the recipient of the 2019 Clyde Vinson Memorial Scholarship is Joe Hetterly, Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, NYC.

He was nominated by Rockford Sansom of Louisiana State University. The committee was very impressed with all of the applications and is confident that our profession has a great future with these early career professionals!



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Business and Corporate Consulting (BizCorp) Committee

Committee Chairs: Dolly May and Cliff Miller




The Bizcore Committee is excited to announce our upcoming Lighthouse sessions for 2019!


Lighthouse sessions are 90-minute learning sessions held on Zoom. They cover a wide variety of topics, from setting up an independent practice, to translating your practice for the business world. Whether your clients are business people, artists, or other professional speakers, you can learn skills and share challenges in these wonderful vibrant sessions.

The upcoming dates will be

Monday, June 17th

Wednesday, July 17th

Monday, September 16th

Monday, October 21st

Monday, November 18th

Monday, December 16th

*Dates subject to change.

Our hosts will include Betty Ann Leeseberg-Lange, Sylvie Lui, Cheryl Moore Brinkley, Micha Espinosa, Pamela Prather, and Rena Cook. We are thrilled to have these excellent voice and speech trainers share their expertise with our community.

An announcement with time, topic, and access information will be emailed the week(s) prior to every session.

Many of you joined us for our most recent Lighthouse session on “Creating Online Courses” hosted by Elissa Weinzimmer. If you couldn’t attend, you may access the recording of this and other past Lighthouse sessions.

Go to

Enter your username and password

Hover the mouse over "MEMBERSHIP"

Hover the mouse over "MEMBERS' ONLY RESOURCES"

Hover the mouse over "BizCore"

Click on "Training Recordings" and you're there! (Remember, you must be logged in to view the content)

For more information or to host your own Lighthouse session in 2020, email

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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Committee Chair: Joy Lanceta Coronel

EDI Announces the winners of their Travel Scholarships!

Elisa Gonzalès and Alexandra Stroud are this year’s winners of the 2019 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Travel Scholarships. Elisa Gonzalès, recipient of the early career scholarship, is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Millikin University in Decatur, IL, and Alexandra Stroud, recipient of the graduate student scholarship, is pursuing her Masters of Literature and MFA in Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin University in Four Oaks, NC. Elisa and Alexandra have received $750 and $500, respectively, to apply to their VASTA conference travel this year. Congratulations, Elisa and Alexandra!

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee would also like to share a reflection by Sami Grant, the recipient of the 2018 Early Career Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship:


I was very honored to receive the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s Early Career Scholarship for the 2018 VASTA Conference in Seattle. Firstly, the monetary value of the scholarship made it financially possible for me to attend. More importantly, however, it gave me the opportunity to be further welcomed into VASTA and the EDI Committee.

At both the 2018 conference and my first conference in Chicago in 2016, my biggest take away was the strong sense of community and support within VASTA. What I found truly remarkable about the Seattle conference was the expansion of that community through the partnership with PAVA. It was such a fantastic opportunity to be able to take part in workshops and presentations led by members of PAVA, who brought a more scientific approach to voice work. Bringing in more science, and specifically anatomical underpinnings of voice work, has been something I have been aiming to improve within my own practice, so this was truly a conference tailor-made for my development.

Furthermore, in October of 2018, I started the MFA Voice Studies program at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The 2018 VASTA conference was a perfect introduction to the rigorous and diverse training I am currently receiving. And the conference inspired me to become more actively involved in VASTA. I have joined the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where I am able to be a voice for differently-abled practitioners. In the future, I hope to take on leadership roles within VASTA and to help continue the growth of this wonderful organization. Thank you so much for your help.

Sami Grant


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Financial Oversight Committee

Committee Chair: Past President Betty Moulton

This committee was created to work directly with the new Director of Operations, Nancy Bos, who also serves as Treasurer of VASTA.  The committee provides budgetary oversight, and it reports directly to the Board of Directors to provide clarity about how VASTA's finances are being managed.  

The structure of the committee and the current names in each position for 2019 are:

Past President (Chair) - Betty Moulton

President-elect - Pamela Prather

Board member - Antonio Ocampo-Guzman

Member-at-large - William Ryder

Investment Officer - Lynn Watson

Invited observer(s) - Early Career Leadership members - Ann Marie Pollard, Joe Hetterly

The Committee had an initial meeting with Director of Operations Nancy Bos in April 2019 to orient all members to her system of organizing financials, to update committee members on VASTA's 2019 budget-to-date, and to share advice for how to proceed as an advisory body. We are pleased to hear how Nancy is organizing the systems around our finances, and we look forward to gaining even greater clarity as we meet over the year.

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Global Communications Group
Committee Chair: Indira Pensado

For our June issue, we heartily welcome an exciting article from Indira Pensado, the Global Communications Group chair. In 2018, Daron Oram wrote of aspirations that The VASTA Voice shine a spotlight on voice work happening around the world.  Here Indira does exactly that, by sharing a narrative about the development of voice work in Mexico.

If you would like to join the Global Communications Group please be in touch with Indira Pensado here: ( -- Your Editors.


Teaching Voice in Mexico


Los 4 Gatos. Linklater Renewing the Scene in Mexico.


To talk freely, to say with clarity, to express with honesty, to free the voice. All are actions of the thought that must not be taken for granted, speaking about voice for theater or for life.

Now imagine, to cry loud, to shout, to laugh, to sigh...

I remember, when I was studying Theater at the National University of Mexico, that it was very common to say that Voice for Theater was in crisis. It was early 1991.

In Mexico, as well as in other countries, we, too, had our 60's and 70's. Revolutionary feelings, the need to break structures, an emancipating spirit. The aim of this time made the arts and the theater change. Performative expressions grew everywhere. Intense scenic expressions led by new fantastic such directors as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Juan José Gurrola and Juan Ibañez, changed the Mexican scene, filling it with the spirit of the time. Theater went out from the big theaters and found the streets, garages, old factories, etc. Those new expressions easily found a reflection of revolutionary thoughts, and actors’ bodies were transformed immediately based on the new needs.

But Voice? The voice for the new scene was not successfully arriving. The Mexican scene transformed itself, and it was taken for granted that voice for the new scene or education for voice could remain the same. The actors and theater schools weren’t finding or designing new voice techniques for the new theater, a theatre that allowed actors to be less formal, less technical and more honest in themselves. Instead, they just took for granted that the same voice technique would work for the new scene.

It took a long time to do something about this. We took for granted that making extra physical effort would make the voice sound better, or in the best case, we used old singing techniques for actor training and classes about the form of the voice, but not the thoughts, the feelings, the imagery of the actors.

We had some Roy Hart visitors in Mexico in the 80's and as well as visits from Odin Teatret and Grotowski. But I do believe that these various approaches of exploring the voice through freedom weren’t taken advantage of. Instead, we had some Mexican professors who tried to renew old voice materials, using movement, but still based on effort and form, or other teachers trying to use Eutony as a voice technique but still shy of becoming a technique that works for actors.

Our voice revolution in Mexico began in the year 2000, with the arrival of Kozana Lucca, a Roy Hart teacher who came to Mexico to teach voice as a method for expressing freely and who also came with the intention of teaching teachers. Then Linklater Voice arrived in 2007, with Antonio Ocampo, who not only taught us Linklater in Spanish, but also introduced us to Andrea Haring and to Kristin Linklater herself, who also came to Mexico. With the three of them, there began a new breathing for voice training in my country.

We, Los 4 Gatos (The 4 Cats) are a group of researchers for the scene in Mexico. We are called that way, because we are the first Mexican designated Linklater teachers: Llever Aíza, Carmen Mastache (DLT 2015), Tania González and I, Indira Pensado (DLT 2012). We know each other from many years ago when we worked together in different plays. In 2008, when Antonio Ocampo came to Mexico and gave us the first Linklater workshop for Mexican voice teachers, we joined together again.

We four came from different voice techniques and have been teaching voice for actors for many years already: Llever and Tania taught in a more traditional way of using the voice for theater, and Carmen and I have been trained by a Roy Hart teacher named Kozana Lucca, who showed us not just a way of expressing freely through our voices but for sharing the method with others.

We four were selected by Antonio Ocampo to be in the Linklater designation process and become designated Linklater teachers. We were taught by Antonio Ocampo, Andrea Haring and Kristin Linklater.

When we first met the Linklater Voice technique, we were sure that it was a very special approach for voice, but also for acting. We felt that this approach was not just for voice but it was an approach for opening our imagination through movement and through specific thinking: an acting technique itself through voice and body.

As pioneers of the method in Mexico, we were teaching Linklater in the most important theater schools of the country.  But we began wondering what else could we do with this important work.

Two years ago we found a play by Michel Marc Bouchard named The Orphan Muses. A great text for three women and a man. A complex text about a family full of secrets. A tragic story with black humor. We felt connected to the text immediately and asked a French director that lives in Mexico and specializes in this author named Boris Schoemann to direct us.

We are now in the third season of the play, and with a full theater every night. A simple production: one table and four chairs in a corner. All made for the actors to fill the space with the action of words.

Even as we are directed by Boris, we use our Linklater work not only as training but also for an approach to our thoughts and feelings. We use the technique as a personal connection but also as a connection between each other, and we use it as researchers of the scene itself. We are curious of how this approach modifies the present scene.

In this way our acting has been mentioned as a special way of acting, beyond honesty. We believe that what is really working, more than good comments for us because of the play, is the connection between Michel Marc's text, resignified by us through the Linklater approach to voice.

In a very subjective profession like theater, we have this clear about our research: we really are making the intent of our acting a consequence of our voice research. Our breath has changed our thoughts, our breath and thoughts with an organized body has made us discover new particularities of feeling, and thinking specifically has made a clearer play to be enjoyed in many ways.

To talk freely, to say with clarity, to express with honesty, to free the voice. There are actions of the thought that may not be taken for granted any more.

We still have two more weeks in June of The Orphan Muses in Mexico City to keep researching, and there will be more scenic projects to come.


                                    Indira Pensado

                                    Mexico City, June 3d, 2019

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Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Committee Chair: Colton Weiss

Hello VASTAns!

The Engagement Committee is hard at work preparing for Orlando. We look forward to seeing many of you during the Committee Fair at the conference.

The committee has been busy reviewing a flurry of Interdisciplinary Engagement Grant applications.  We are pleased to congratulate the following individuals on their recent awards and conference work outside of VASTA. Check out each of their respective conference events below :

Linda Nicholls-Gidley - Drama Australia

CJ Greer - Otolaryngology Voice Conference

Jenevora Williams - The Voice Foundation Symposium

Engagement Grants are accepted year round while fundings lasts, so if you are considering attending/presenting at a future conference, send your application to

Apart from conference preparations and grants, the committee extends a heartfelt thank you to Pamela Prather for judging and presenting the VASTA Vocal Excellence Award at this year’s 50th Annual KCACTF National Festival. Congratulations to Dylan Wright from Brigham Young University on receiving this award, and welcome to the VASTA community.

We look forward to seeing many of you soon in the Florida sun!


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Mentorship Initiative Committee

Committee Chair: Ursula Meyer

A salutation from the newly formed Mentorship Initiative Committee!

It’s often said that VASTA’s biggest resource is its own members. In this regard, we are excited to announce the launch of the Mentorship Initiative Committee.  This committee will provide opportunities for VASTA members to reach out to one another for advice, guidance, and support. We aim to foster mentorship between peers, between older and newer members, and between members who are pursuing similar goals.

The committee is in the process of creating new structures for members to share and receive knowledge.  For example, the committee will offer Zoom panels, set up one-on-one mentorship interactions, and develop face-to-face contact opportunities at conference events. Our aim is for members to be able to form mentorship relationships on a variety of topics. The committee is also creating a database that will link mentors and mentees together by specific subjects.

The creation of this committee sparked a surge of enthusiasm at last year’s conference, and this energy led to our first Zoom panel on the topic of voice coaching in February.  Among the questions discussed were “What works?”, “How to start?”, and more.

We’d love to see you at the Mentorship Initiative Committee Lunch in Orlando this August.  We are still discovering what our committee can do for the membership, and we’d love your input.  We welcome the chance to fill you in on our latest ideas for fostering mentorship relationships. Come see what we are up to and do your part in helping VASTA continue to be the vibrant hub of information exchange that it is.

Ursula Meyer (chair), Jeremy Sortore, Jennifer Innes, and Amy Chafee

Mentorship Initiative Committee


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Teaching and Learning Committee

Committee Chair: Diane Robinson

VSR Online Book Club Zoom Meeting Coming Up June 28 at 12:00 p.m. Los Angeles Time!


The Teaching and Learning Committee is excited to announce the upcoming VSR Online Book Club Zoom Meeting on June 28 at 12:00 noon Pacific Daylight Time. Diane Robinson will host and Eric Armstrong will facilitate an informal 60-minute discussion of Joanna Cazden's 2017 Voice and Speech Review article entitled "Stalking the calm buzz: how the polyvagal theory links stage presence, mammal evolution, and the root of the vocal nerve," Volume 11 Issue 2.

The Zoom link is

Our last book club was awesome! Please consider attending this one. The VSR Online Book Club is a great way for you to engage in a no-pressure, free-floating discussion of topics in the reading that resonate.  It’s also a great way for you to get connected to the VSR and the VASTA learning community. The book club Zoom meeting will be recorded, so if you are unable to make it, don't fret.  We will post a link to the recorded session so that everyone can benefit from the conversation.

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Freelance Coaching Column

Meredith Colby


Your Website’s Welcome Mat:

How to Invite That Next Client In

Most freelancers don’t want to think about marketing.  We want to set up shop and offer our services. Then we’d like to have great clients show up at our door and be happy to pay us.  Unfortunately, and with very few exceptions, that doesn’t happen. Like it or not, we have to market ourselves.

In both working and talking with freelance professionals, I’ve noticed that there are three points of disdain that draw a common thread through the fabric of our loathing for marketing.

1.    We’re typically short on time, and marketing takes time.

2.    We don’t want to have to conquer our fear of new technologies.

3.    We feel uncomfortable tooting our own respective horns.       Photo by Burst from

About No. 1:

There are books, videos, and seminars to help with time management so this article will pass that by.

About No. 2:

I’ll merely pass on some sage advice given to me by a high school student. If you have to learn something new, spend half an hour watching YouTube videos about how to do it. At the end of the 30 minutes, you’ll either think, “I can do this,” or not. Typically, the tough part is facing your fear, so watching a few videos is a good low-resistance, non-committal first step. I find most consumer-centered technologies these days are pretty easy if you let yourself get the hang of it.

That said, if you haven’t explored the drag-and-drop website platforms yet, what are you waiting for?  They are the bomb. Beautiful, easy, no webmaster necessary! Wix and Squarespace are the biggies right now, but there are competitors out there, and reviews that compare them.  Google away!

About No. 3

This is the demon we’ll expose to bright lights today.

Seriously.  What’s worse than writing copy about yourself?  Very few of us are capable of honestly assessing our own strengths accurately such that we could expound on them. If you’ve been working in your field long enough that you’ve seen first-hand what your strengths are, how do you talk about that? Or, how do you talk about that without sounding self-important?

What we usually end up doing is citing our achievements, awards, degrees, and performances. Not only does that make for a really milquetoast website, it’s probably not attracting clients. Why? Because you’re talking about yourself, rather than about your potential client.

Now you’re thinking, “But of course it’s about me! It’s my website about my services. Anyone looking for what I do wants to know about me, the person who’s doing that thing."


If you’re teaching in a college, you are in the luxurious position of being a developer of talent and skills.  If you’re an independent teacher or coach, your job is to solve problems. Clients don’t call you because everything is jim-dandy and they’re just looking for ways to spend money and time. They call you because they have a problem they can’t solve alone, and they’re willing to invest their money and time to solve that problem.

Your potential client wants to know that you understand her problem, that you understand her, and that you, the professional, are both qualified and prepared to help her solve her problem or clear her hurdle. Your copy has to talk to her about her issues. Along the way you can let her know that you’re the perfect person to help her.

Here’s where the self-horn-tooting comes in.  You can put your impressive résumé on your “About” page, but that home page has to zero in on your visitor’s concerns.  That person is asking the question, “Can you help me?” and perhaps “How?” Your home page has to answer the first question and guide them to the answer to the second question.

Let’s say I’m looking for a speech coach.  Your home page has to tell me in one second and in no uncertain terms that I’ve come to the site of a speech coach.  In that same second (or less) I have to feel good about what I’m seeing. The colors, typefaces, and layouts have to appeal to me. I have to feel comfortable enough to click the links that will answer the question of how you’ll help me.

Here are some ways you can invite that person in:

  • The power of having good quality photos of yourself on the home page cannot be overstressed.  Show your cute, warm, trustworthy self to the camera!
  • Images are more powerful than words, but poor-quality images look unprofessional.  If you’re concerned about the high price of stock photos, get your images from or  Be nice and leave a few shekels in the tip jar.
  • Don’t overwhelm them with copy or with choices.
  • Have the first thing they see answer the question, “What services does this person provide?”  Your banner, logo, or title should say what you do (e.g., Kathy Bird is the Word! Kathy Bird Voice & Speech)
  • Have between one and four clear choices in your menu (e.g. Onsite and Group Classes, Personal Speech Coaching, Executive Coaching).
  • Don’t crowd your copy.  Big font sizes, space between lines, and columns that aren’t too wide make for easy reading and scanning.
  • Two fonts.  Only two fonts.  One for titles, one for copy.  Two.
  • Colors matter. Pick your “signature” color, and two complimentary colors to go with it. (Here is a terrific article on color from, a site which is awesome-sauce and you should know about it!)

Once you have this concept in your head, fly into cyberspace and look at some websites. See how you feel about them, and try to figure out why you feel that way.  Having the client-centered-site idea in your head will inform your opinions.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a website must be worth more.  Take a look at a few sites I’ve picked out. This list includes my site and the sites of some successful colleagues.  Enjoy, learn, go forth and create! And have fun!

Meredith Colby

Clean look, accessible copy, unavoidable navigation

Sarah Campbell

Beautiful, easy, clean.

Sanddollar Music

Great photos, easy navigation, their copy is the one to beat. Note the pop-ups.

The Speakeasy Cooperative

The grooviest. Clear message, beautiful colors and graphics. Note the pop-ups.

Eden Casteel

Warm, fun, clear.

The Full Voice

Not beautiful, but very clear.


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Conference And Membership Updates

VASTA 2019 Conference - Connectors, Communicators & Culture

Kendra Kingsbury

Check out what the conference planning committee has in store for you with the 2019 Conference Agenda! The conference is shaping up to be thought-provoking, well-rounded, and fulfilling - we certainly don't want you to miss it! Connect with us in Orlando and help VASTA move our mission forward in advancing the art, research, and the visibility of the voice and speech profession by adding your voice to our great, global community!

**Be sure to log in before you register to receive the member discount of $100 off the conference fee.**


For more information or to


head to

Don't forget to RESERVE your room at the Embassy Suites Orlando Downtown BEFORE 1 July, 2019 to take advantage of VASTA's discount.

More information about the Conference in Orlando can be found HERE.

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Stacey Cabaj

The 2019 ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) Conference will be held August 7-11 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida and the theme is “Scene Changes: Performing, Teaching, and Working through the Transitions.” We are excited about the numerous VASTA-sponsored panels and workshops that have been accepted to this year’s conference.

The VASTA Focus Group has three different types of offerings at the conference: sessions sponsored by multiple focus groups, presentations sponsored solely by the VASTA Focus Group, and our Debut Panel. This year’s multidisciplinary collaborations include: “Performing Latinx Identity: Dialect Coaching Latinx Plays - embodying the linguistic sound of home” (Cynthia DeCure, Micha Espinosa) sponsored by both the Acting Focus Group and the Latinx, Indigenous, and the Americas Focus Group; and “Accents in Musicals: What’s a Voice and Speech Coach to do?” (Margaret Ball, Stacey Cabaj, Diane Sanffner, Lesley-Ann Timlick, Colton Weiss) co-sponsored by the Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group.

Some VASTA Focus Group Presentations include: “Nurturing Chaos and Discombobulation in Actor Training” (Joyce Lu, Ann Marie Pollard) and “Scene Changes: The Human Voice/ The Voice of The People/ Multiple Languages; Points of Intersection La Voz Humana/ La Voz de la Gente/Lenguajes Múltiples; puentes para intercambio” (Micha Espinosa, Katherine Gavilan).

These are just a sample of what you can expect from VASTA at ATHE this August.  For more information, please visit the ATHE website.

The VASTA Debut Panel provides an opportunity for several VASTA members to present short workshops, exercises, or papers the ATHE conference. This year, we welcome Andrea Odinov of Loyola Marymount University who will share “an exploration rooted in Fitzmaurice Voicework® with the intention of feeling breath as physical listening and transversus engagement as the active need to speak in response to that listening.” Next is Susan Schuld of the University of Florida, who will lead a 12-minute rehabilitative speech workout with speech isolation and strengthening exercises that have been adopted from the work of Kristin Linklater, Knight-Thompson Speechwork, Miller Voice Method, and Patricia Fletcher. Melissa Tonning-Kollwitz, of Marymount Manhattan College, will present her research that explores standard dialects in collegiate actor training and professional coaching environments. Finally, Erin Nicole Washington, an independent artist based on Los Angeles will share an exercise.

We will also be hosting the annual VASTA at ATHE Happy Hour! Join us on Friday, August 9th at 5:30 pm for drinks, snacks, and great conversation with your fellow VASTA members. The event will be held conveniently at Hurricanes Lounge in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.  We look forward to seeing you there!


Questions? Contact VASTA at ATHE:

Stacey Cabaj - Conference Planner:

Erin Nicole Washington - Associate Conference Planner:

Rene Pulliam - VASTA Focus Group Representative:

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Voice and Speech Review

Rockford Sansom

Hello, VASTA members,

Most of the July 2019 (13.2) articles are available now on the VSR’s Routledge website. (See login instructions below.) For the very first time, this issue features authors on five continents! Additionally, this issue has many articles that explore specific voice methodologies and pedagogies. We are excited to share the issue with you, and we are excited to see the global growth in the journal.

The journal has several announcements:

1. July 1, 2019 is the early deadline for the 2020 volume

The next deadline for general article drafts is July 1, 2019. The 2019 volume is closed. All new submissions are for 2020 consideration. The journal processes articles in the order they are received. Early submission is greatly encouraged.

Click here for the call for papers.

2. Award Winners

The 2018 VSR Awards winners are below. The authors receive a cash prize, and their articles have free access for a year. Feel free to share them with colleagues! The winners are:

Dudley Knight Award for Outstanding Vocal Scholarship:

Andrea Caban for Accent Modification, Voicework, and ALS: A Case Study in Prolonging the Ability to Speak

Rocco Dal Vera Graduate Research Award:

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

VSR Forum Article of the Year Award:

Jennifer Spencer for Performing Arts Training in the Age of #MeToo

3. Author Resources

The VSR has a host of resources to help potential authors! Some of these include:

  • A Guide to Publishing in the VSR - This document goes over the publication process and answers many questions.
  • VSR Style Guide - This document gives an overview of how to format an article and how to cite and reference.
  • VSR Submission Template - This document shows how the article should be formatted and gives an example article.
  • Ideas for Articles – This resource gives ideas and outlines for various VSR article series.

Click here for author resources.

Please let me know if you have any questions, would like any further information, or would like to get involved in the VSR.

Most sincerely,

Rockford Sansom, Editor


Sample Articles from July 2019 (13.2) – Early Access is Available Now!

Toward Intervocality: Linklater, the Body, and Contemporary Feminist Theory by Ann J. Cahill & Christine Hamel

Fitzmaurice Voicework Pilot Study with fMRI by Lynn Watson, Rachel Hirshorn-Johnston, Sean R. O’Bryan & Tyler Davis

Multilingual Theatre Voice Training in South Africa: Our Translingual Attempt Employing Lessac Kinesensics by Marth Munro & Karina Lemmer

Many Doors: The Histories and Philosophies of Roy Hart Voice Work and Estill Voice Training by Susan Bamford Caleo


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 

Call for Papers

Author Guidelines 

Book and Media Review Information

Frequently Asked Questions 

Resources for Authors 

VSR Awards 


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Member News

Ann Marie Pollard

Please find Member News from members with last names I-M below.

The following are the Member News submission dates for the remainder of 2019:

Members with last names beginning with: N, O, P, Q, R, S - Submit by August 15th (for our September Issue)

Members with last names beginning with: T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z - Submit by November 15th (for our December Issue)

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

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!                                                                                          

Ann Marie Pollard                                                                                     

Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice

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CHRISTINE ISHERWOOD, MA, VMT-R (Registered Voice Movement Therapist),  recently presented at the 2nd International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference in Beijing, China, on The Voice Beyond Language. She also presented at the International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference in Berkeley, CA on Voice Movement Therapy: Voices of Strength and Resistance. She is currently teaching the Voice Movement Therapy Training program in China, through the Beijing Apollo Education and Consulting Institute. In addition, the Voice Movement Therapy Center, in conjunction with the Norma Canner Foundation for Voice Movement Therapy, will be offering the training course in Voice Movement Therapy: The Voice Unchained, taught by Anne Brownell and Christine Isherwood, beginning November, 2019 in Marion, MA. Christine will be presenting at the Journal for Applied Arts and Health Conference, UK, in August, 2019, on Defining the Artist-Educator-Researcher in the 21st Century in Voice, Movement and Exploration. Christine continues to teach internationally and runs workshops and trainings as well as work with individuals.


JIM JOHNSON (Houston TX) became a Full Professor this year, his 18th at the University of Houston. He teaches and performs each summer with the Prague Shakespeare Company, playing the title role in Julius Caesar in 2018, and returning to play Prospero in The Tempest in 2019. This year Jim coached the SXSW Game of Thrones season launch event Bleed for the Throne, a collaboration between HBO and the American Red Cross. He coached Anne Page Hates Fun for American Shakespeare Center, NSFW for Stages Repertory Theatre, Jesus Hopped the A Train for Fourth Wall, and Dear Charlotte and Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls at UH. He also directed and coached Amelia for Unity Theatre. Jim continues to update and expand the materials, currently offering 47 different accents.


DEBORAH KINGHORN (Durham, New Hampshire) directed the musical If/Then for the University of New Hampshire; taught the Kinesensic Teacher Training Workshop at the University of Pretoria in South Africa; presented two workshops in Shakespeare and Kinesensics for Midsummer Scene Festival in Dubrovnik, Croatia;  presented “Embodied Voice” and “Optimize Your Output” at Shetler Studios in New York City, and an introductory voice/movement workshop for Theatre Kapow in Manchester, NH. She played Emily in Jeffrey Kinghorn’s play The Bodines at New Hampshire Theatre Project, and the Countess and the Queen in Shakespeare’s Edward III for Seven Stages Shakespeare Company. She continues to co-direct the Acting and Directing program at the Department of Theatre and Dance at UNH.


PETRINA KOW is the first Singaporean certified in the Fitzmaurice Voicework®ï¸ method. She’s taught Voice, Voice-Acting and Accents at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. She also runs her own consultancy called Vocal Presence where she helps professionals with their communication and presentation skills. She runs workshops regularly on “Voice and Storytelling” to diverse groups of people from board members in an international Non-Profit Group to large groups of primary school teachers to an intimate group of Migrant Workers from India through a translator! She’s thrilled to be the Accent and Text Coach on an upcoming play by Christopher Chen.  She is grateful to be able to continue her work in advertising as a Voice Actor for the past 20 years. She records a not-so monthly podcast with her ex-radio partner Joe Augustin where they engage in hilarious and often heartfelt conversations on “TMI Podcast”.


BARRY KUR ( State College, PA)  continues to mentor certification candidates for the Lessac Training and Research Institute and will be leading the 2019 Lessac Teacher Training Workshop  in June/July at DePauw University, Indiana. Barry recently conducted master classes for University of Southern Mississippi and Kent State University. He will be dialect coaching a production of Matilda for Fuse Productions, PA opening in September. Retirement travel this year has included Antigua, Spain, and Iceland.



RYAN LONG (Columbus, OH) just completed five years of teaching and leading the theatre program at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Mount Vernon, OH). In March she co-presented a workshop "Speaking with Skill: An Introduction to Knight-Thompson Speechwork" at the Southeastern Theatre Conference Annual Convention. She also recently accepted her first tenure-track position at Huntington University (Huntington, IN), where she will be an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Department of Theatre.



CAMERON MEIER (Orlando, FL) is a new member but is no stranger to VASTA thanks to his work as executive editor of the International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA) and vice president of Paul Meier Dialect Services. He is responsible for IDEA’s daily updates and the processing of new submissions while assisting his dad, IDEA Founder and Director Paul Meier, with a variety of dialect- and voice-related activities. Cameron and Paul’s latest project is the Interactive IPA app for Android, an interactive demonstration of the International Phonetic Alphabet. When not working on dialect and accent projects, Cameron is a movie critic for The Orlando Weekly and


ADRIANNE MOORE (Utah) is currently directing Clybourne Park for the Lyric Repertory Theatre in Logan Utah before she heads off to the American Players Theatre (APT) to serve as the voice and text coach on A Doll’s House. Projects in the last year included a semester traveling the world teaching for Semester at Sea, coaching for the Salt Lake Acting Company: The Cake and Silent Dancer, for APT: Our Country’s Good and a voice over project for a Warner Bros video game. She is the department head at Utah State University and continues to teach dialects and directing.



BETTY MOULTON (Ontario, Canada) Professor Emerita University of Alberta. Betty is currently past president of VASTA and is enjoying her first year of retirement having moved to Ontario to be closer to family. While wintering in Arizona, she conducted a Master Class with Micha Espinosa’s students at Arizona State University “Techniques for extending vocal and emotional range." Guest teacher of the class was Michael Scholar Jr., a long-ago BFA student of Betty’s. She continues to coach voice production and dialects via Skype sessions and welcomes collaboration with other voice professionals.



PATRICK MULRYAN (New York, NY) had a wonderful academic year teaching with the Brooklyn College MFA Acting Program and the Tom Todoroff Conservatory. This year he took on a more administrative role with Brooklyn College, helping to choose the incoming class and directing the showcase. Patrick performed in two readings by playwright Daniel K. Isaac with Ma-Yi, Page 73, and EST. This summer he'll be assisting Moisés Kaufman on the Pride Plays at Rattlestick celebrating World Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. This Fall Patrick will be directing a production of Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink at the Actors Fund Performing Arts Center in Brooklyn.



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VASTA Board of Directors & Officer

Board of Directors

Michael Barnes
2018 - 2020

Betty Moulton
Past President 
2018 - 2020

Pamela Prather
President Elect
2018 - 2020





Micha Espinosa

Cynthia DeCure

Daron Oram

Julia Guichard

Kristi Dana

Antonio Ocampo-Guzman





Tamara Meneghini-Stalker  

Nancy Bos
Director of Operations
2018- 2019

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

Kate Glasheen
Reviews Editor, The Voice & Speech Review

Hollace Starr
Editor, The VASTA Voice

Ann Marie Pollard
Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice

Thrasso Petras
Director of Membership Services

Kendra Kingsbury
Director of Annual Conferences

Erin Washington

Associate ATHE Conference Planner

Stacey Cabaj
ATHE Focus Group Conference Planner

Rene Pulliam
ATHE Focus Group Representative

Jeremy Sortore
Membership Engagement Coordinator

Lynn Watson
Investments Officer

Adriano Cabral
Director of Technology/Web Services 

Kendra Kingsbury
Associate Director of Technololgy
2017 -

Ann Marie Pollard
Early Career Leadership

Joe Hetterly
Early Career Leadership

Yolanda Heman-Ackah

 Associate Officers

Amy Stoller
Editor, VASTA Links Page

Flloyd Kennedy
Editor, Workshop & Events Page

Janet B. Rodgers
VASTA Archivist 

Brad Gibson

Foster Johns
Social Media Content Manager







Committee Chairs

Kimberly Monhe Hill
 Awards and Grants Committee

Joy Lanceta Coronel
 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Colton Weiss
Interdisciplinary Engagement Committee

Diane Robinson
Teaching and Learning Committee

Indira Pensado
Global Communications Group

Dolly May and Cliff Miller
Business and Corporate Consulting Committee (BizCore)

Betty Moulton
Financial Oversight Committee

Ursula Meyer
Mentorship Initiative Committee




Contact Information Available at VASTA.ORG


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©2010, Voice and Speech Trainers Association