VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association)
I’m a “founding member” of the organization, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012. My association with VASTA members and the yearly international conferences have sustained me throughout my entire career teaching voice and speech for actors, and has inspired most of the innovations and directions I’ve explored as a singer and as a teacher and dialect specialist. Every encounter renews me, so I keep coming back, and investing in the organization. This year, our conference is in Minneapolis, and the conference theme is: Voices of Wisdom: Spanning Generations. One of the reasons VASTA endures is that it honors people at all stages of their careers, from the new and less experienced, through the middle-career and seasoned voice professional. This year, many of the sessions pair people that have mentoring relationships, because we acknowledge that our profession is built on that relationship. Singers depend on mentors; actors depend on mentors–and also teachers. I’ve been fortunate to have had many many mentors: Kristin Linklater, Richard Armstrong, Frankie Armstrong, Bonnie Raphael, Sue Demel, Parker Palmer, Janet Rodgers. I define “mentor” as someone who takes a particular interest in your journey, who somehow connects with your “inner teacher” on a spiritual level–an enduring relationship that lasts for many years. At the conference, I’m presenting sessions with Marie Ramirez-Downing, Judith Shahn and Amy Mihyang Ginther. I expect I’ll learn more from each of them than I can offer to them, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity. More later….