HISTORY OF THE LOS ANGELES CHAPTER

by Gwendolyn Roberts

On March 23, 1944, following agreement and approval of the Organizational Committee, a new organization of singing teachers was formed.  It was called the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  The first meeting of the officers of the new association was held on march 24, 1944 at the Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was decided to incorporate and that was done on April 26, 1944 in the State of Illinois.  During successive meetings, it was decided to divide the United States in "Sections". Later called Regions.  The first issue of The NATS Bulletin was published and listed the charter officers.

Ruth Miller Chamlee was asked to serve as Regional Governor of the Western Section and was asked to form a new region – the Cal-Western Region.  In 1945, as the membership grew particularly among singing teachers in the Los Angeles area, Ms. Chamlee felt it would be productive to form a chapter.  She planted the idea with the national officers and reported the success of the Los Angeles venture to the national convention.  Some national officers felt that the chapter idea was "too soon for such local organizations since it might be detrimental to the national effort," as the slogan of the moment was "think national."  However, the Los Angeles Chapter was officially granted a charter on July 6, 1949 and its continued success inspired the formation of other chapters nationally.  From that early beginning under the guidance and inspiration of Ms. Chamlee, this chapter has continued to grow and prosper presenting outstanding programs, lectures, master classes and demonstrations.  Chapter projects include Young Artists' Auditions, Concert of the Year, Student Evaluation Program, two all-day symposia featuring nationally recognized professionals and regular monthly programs of an informative nature.

The chapter has been recognized and honored by the national association through the years.  Florence Russell, Gerold Shepard, Robert T. Gurnee and Marjory Mackay have each served as Regional Governors; Gwendolyn Roberts has served as both Regional Governor and Vice President, NAATSAA Coordinator; Violet Mesrop has been Regional Governor and Vice President for National Workshops.  William Vennard served as Regional Governor and was elected to two terms as President of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.  His selected articles on singing are available from the national office.