The following release was written by student intern Kacie Murray, Lumberport, W.Va., a public relations major.

Nine West Liberty University music students returned to the Hilltop with high honors from the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) student audition competition, held Oct. 26, at Glenville State University.

“I am thrilled for our students and happy that their hard work paid off with this special recognition,” said Dr. Linda Cowan, professor of voice.

Four WLU students won first-place awards: Timothi Williams, a senior from Wellsburg, W.Va.; Brent Kimball, a freshman from Follansbee, W.Va.; Alan Cline, a senior from Wellsburg, W.Va. and Cassie Hackbart, a senior from Kingwood, W.Va.

From left front, Anna Gross, Kimberly Wolfe, Timothi Williams, Cassie Hackbart, Carrie George, back row, Celesta Berga, Brent Kimball, Alan Cline and Matthias Niall.

From left front, Anna Gross, Kimberly Wolfe, Timothi Williams, Cassie Hackbart, Carrie George, back row, Celesta Berga, Brent Kimball, Alan Cline and Matthias Niall.

Hackbart won first-place in the musical theater category. The three other students won first in their separate divisions in the classical song category. All four students study under Cowan.

Other participants included Celesta Berga, Carrie George, Anna Gross, Matthias Naill and Kim Wolfe. Two student pianists from West Liberty University were also featured staff accompanists: Chad Grubb and Michael Murphy.

A national organization made up of singing teachers, professional singers, actors, voice specialists and doctors, NATS is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world.

The competition was divided into the two main categories of musical theatre and classical. There are also sub-categories for classical high school men and women; classical freshmen; sophomore, junior, and senior men and women; musical theatre for college competitors and musical theatre for high school competitors.

West Liberty University’s Division of Music is part of the College of Arts and Communications, which includes the departments of journalism, communication studies and visual arts, along with theatre and music. Undergraduate degrees are offered in music education, music performance and music technology. For more information, please email [email protected] or contact the Department of Music and Theater at 304-336-8930.