RU Voice students compete at Nationals

By Erika Neldner

A Reinhardt rising junior took first place at nationals in Chicago while an up-and-coming dual enrolled student came in third in a different category.


Dr. Rebecca Salter attended the NATS 54th National Convention this month with students, from left, Lauralyn McClelland (a SpongeBob cast member and former student of Salter’s from Oklahoma City University), Tyler Smith and Nik Griffo. They were able to see The SpongeBob Musical in its pre-Broadway run while in Chicago.

Reinhardt University students competed in two separate competitions at the NATS 54th National Convention in Chicago July 8-11. NATS is the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Tyler Smith and Nik Griffo, students of Dr. Rebecca Salter, competed in the National Student Auditions. Smith earned first-place in the competition.

Victoria Hill, a dual-enrolled student starting at RU in the fall and student from Dr. Reverie Berger’s studio, also competed.

“In order to qualify for these auditions, all three students had to be finalists in the Southeastern Regional NATS Student Auditions,” Salter said.

Seven students from Reinhardt qualified to audition at the national level including Smith, Griffo, Mary Allia Endredi, Mikensley Clayton and Alan Stein, all students of Salter’s studio, and Chase Brackett and Clark Cumbee from Dr. Cory Schantz’ studio.


Victoria Hill, who will be a dual-enrolled student at Reinhardt this fall, is pictured with her instructor, Dr. Reverie Berger. Hill earned third place at the national competition in Chicago.

Smith and Griffo were both national semi-finalists in the Lower Level College Music Theater Men’s Division, and Hill was a national semi-finalist in the High School Classical Women’s Division.

“Each division had 14 semi-finalists from which the adjudicators selected three finalists,” Salter said. “Tyler and Victoria each advanced to the final round of their respective divisions. Tyler was awarded first place in his division, and Victoria was awarded third place in her division.”

An RU alumna also competed but in the NATS National Music Theater Competition, which is for emerging professionals. Kate Johnson ’14 entered the YouTube round and was selected as a semi-finalist. She competed in Chicago, as well.

“Just to be selected as a semi-finalist in these competitions is a huge accomplishment, and Tyler and Victoria placing was just icing on the cake,” Salter said.