Local singer discusses competing digitally in National Association of Teachers of Singing Annual Conference

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The pandemic may have put several things on hold, but it can’t stop the music.

Ontario Williams, a music education major at Augusta University, had been preparing for the 2020 Southeastern Region National Association of Teachers of Singing Annual Conference.

But the conference and audition was held virtually this year because of COVID-19.

Williams said not being able to perform in front of an audience was a challenge.

“I’m used to my audience giving me energy to perform. So I like to please my audience. I’m always thinking ‘how can I please my audience, what do they like to see from me, what do they like to hear from me’. But for THIS competition, it was like ‘now you have to imagine this room filled with people’…and there’s only three of us in the room. It was like singing to a wall.

Williams received first place in both Music Theater and the Hall Johnson Spiritual category and advanced to the national semi-finals that will be held June 17th through the 20th.

The top three singers in each category from the semi-final round will advance to the final round.

I asked Williams what it would mean to him to win the whole thing…

“How are you supposed to feel? Of course I would be happy! I would be in shock, like ‘is this really happening to me?’ This boy from small town Milledgeville, Georgia winning a national competition? What? I would be in awe.”


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