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News | Music | College of Liberal Arts

Graduate student Sashekia Brown scores double-win at NATS

Congratulations to soprano Sashekia Brown, who just won first prize in two categories at the NATS competition (National Association of Teachers of Singing)! Given the state of the pandemic, she submitted recordings of her repertoire that went through a series of elimination rounds. She shared some of her thoughts on this new experience.

“There’s something very gratifying about being able to share what I do with a live audience; I don’t think anything compares to that — to be in dialogue with the audience. I really miss that and I feel like that really informs the performance.”

Covid restrictions affected her preparation process as well.

“A lot of this music was new to me. In normal times we have lunch hour concerts and performances to help us mark our progress; in this kind of situation it’s like we’re preparing the music in a vacuum… it was an exciting and challenging experience but I’m very happy that I was able to do it.”

Between the two categories, which were “advanced treble,” matching her level of study and an open category, Brown sang a mix of standard repertoire and Spirituals.

“I really enjoyed the set I did for the general category because I was able to include music from Black composers, specifically Women of Color, and that’s something that I care about so it was nice for me to be able to do that. Undine Smith Moore and Jacqueline Hairston are two of my favorite composers, so I really jumped at the opportunity to prepare the music and to share some of that music with a wider audience.

Brown selected repertoire with the goal of challenging herself.

“There was a new spiritual that was really challenging: Sinner, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass (arr. Damion Sneed); as with a lot

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