"Ohio Honors Its Own"
Teachers are a special breed. They believe whole-heartedly in the concept of passing on the knowledge and practices that have been passed to them by the previous generations. They believe that what they have to share is more important than money or fame.
This is especially true of voice teachers. We are committed to sharing the traditions that have made our vocation relative for over four hundred years. We give extra lessons to students who are struggling with music literacy. We teach others for free who love singing, but can barely manage their monthly expenses. We pay entrance fees, or supplement song festival tuitions for those in whom we see a genuine gift and love of learning. During a pandemic, we invest in technology and educate ourselves on how to use it to better stay connected to our students. We support our students through family crises, health scares, vocal issues, and the basic hardships of life. We do this simply because we love our students and we love what we do.
We not only give to our beloved students, but we also give to the organizations we feel most share our core values, such as the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Many of you are probably aware, but some may not know, that service to NATS (except at the highest levels) is completely voluntary. The hundreds of hours spent creating and judging student auditions, setting up chapter meetings, and attending conferences is all done because we feel a strong commitment to this organization and the myriad of wonderful things it does for us and for our students. There is no salary. There is no stipend. There is simply the desire to continue the good work that has allowed us to our good work with the hope that it will encourage others to do the same.
It is for this very reason the Board has decided to institute the OHIO Award. An acronym for “Ohio Honors Its Own”, this award will be given annually to a member of the Ohio Chapter who has given their time, talent, and passion to NATS. Going forward, the Board will be creating more specific criteria and processes for nominations, but this year we have decided to inaugurate the award by giving to the person who inspired it.
Her incredible history with NATS is overwhelming and awe-inducing. She joined our chapter 34 years ago, has served on the board as a member, as the Vice President, as the President, and as Emeritus President/Advisor. Additionally, she has served as the State Governor and on the Membership Committee for the national office. She has attended countless chapter meetings, student auditions, and national conferences. The Board of the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing has chosen Stephanie Henkle as our first recipient. Congratulations Stephanie and thank you for all your work on behalf of our chapter!