CVCC Student Parsons Advances to National Singing Competition

Catawba Valley Community College student Ishmeal Parsons has advanced to the national level of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition


Ishmeal Parsons

Catawba Valley Community College student Ishmeal Parsons has advanced to the national level of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition — one of the most prestigious singing competitions in the country.

An Associate in Fine Arts in Music student at CVCC, Parsons was one of 12 college students in the country chosen to advance in his category.

Parsons was eligible for the national round after placing third in two categories of the Regional NATS competition, but his experience from the regional to national rounds were must different.

“I had to record more than twice for this process,” he said. “I knew it was going to be really hard this time because it’s nationals. I think the best advice I could give anyone is to fall in love with your music, relate the songs to your life and really get into the character. Also, do your research. Be humble and grateful for every process of the journey. Most importantly, show up and do the work.”

Parsons’ national placement is just the latest in an impressive record of award-winning students on the state, regional and national levels at Catawba Valley Community College.

CVCC students have advanced to nationals in each of the past four years. Last year, CVCC’s Cory Knighton, alongside teacher David Clark, won first place in the nation in the men’s Musical category. 

The NATS singing competitions draw the top music schools and students in the country. 

There are multiple rounds to be able to advance in the national level of NATS. With his top 12 placement in the country in his category, Parsons advances to the national semifinals, which take place later this month.

"I am so proud of Ishmeal and his accomplishments this year,” said Caroline Simyon, director of Music for Department of Fine Arts at CVCC. “He has grown as a person and a singer. His hard work and practice have taken him to the national level of competition of the most renowned music organization in the world. It is a tremendous honor to work with him as his teacher. The entire college, administration and music family are cheering him on.”

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