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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

GET TO KNOW NJCU: Seven Students Earn Top Honors in NATS Festival of Singing

GET TO KNOW NJCU: Seven Students Earn Top Honors in NATS Festival of Singing

JERSEY CITY, N.J., April 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NJCU has one of the top music programs in the region. On any night of the week, audiences will find an NJCU faculty member, alumnus or student performing on Broadway, at Lincoln Center, in orchestras and jazz clubs around the country.

Recently, seven students from the Caroline L. Guarini Department of Music, Dance and Theatre garnered awards in the New Jersey National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) 38(th) Annual Auditions," which drew 76 competitors from throughout the State and was hosted by NJCU.

NJCU winners included: graduate students LeAndre Scott, first place, and Sarah Blood, second place, in "Advanced Upper Women/Men"; freshman Kyle Blocker, first place in "Lower College Music Theater Women/Men"; senior Najee Esmond, first place in "Upper College Music Theater Women/Men"; Israel Hernandez, first place, and Al-Jabril Muhammad, second place, in "Junior Men"; and Elizabeth Smith, second place in "Junior Women."

Just three short weeks later, Smith placed first and Hernandez placed second in the Hall Johnson Spiritual Scholarship Competition at the NJNATS Regional conference at Montclair State University, making both eligible to move on to the national level in Chicago in July.

Founded in 1944, NATS is the largest professional organization of teachers of singing in the world, representing 7,000 members in more than 25 countries.

Faculty Mentors Make a Difference
NJCU students benefit from the University's proximity to New York City, as it draws top faculty with backgrounds in diverse fields. Students thrive thanks to NJCU's dedicated professors who are committed to helping their students achieve professional success and meaningful careers.

Faculty share lessons from their real-life experience as well as from theory. Students are encouraged to enter competitions, such as the NATS Festival of Singing, and to perform, travel, and partake of experiences that foster professional opportunity and personal growth.

For example, soprano Donna Connolly, NJCU director of vocal studies, and her colleagues in the Caroline L. Guarini Department of Music, Dance and Theatre mentor and encourage NJCU's talented, hard-working music, dance and theatre students. Dr. Connolly has garnered acclaim in her international career from locales as diverse as Bangkok, Cairo, Manila, Hong Kong, and Korea as well as the major opera and concert houses in New York City and elsewhere around the United States.

For more information about NJCU visit

SOURCE New Jersey City University

New Jersey City University

CONTACT: Ellen Wayman-Gordon, 201-200-3426,

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