Friends University Announces NATS Finalist

Friends University achieved its best ever finish at National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) 2023 National Student Auditions, with its first national finalist, three national semifinalists, and one national quarterfinalist.  Students qualify for the NATS National Student Auditions by reaching finals of their respective regional auditions.  In November 2022, Friends had nine first and second place finishes at the NATS West Central Region auditions, the most of any college or university in its four-state region. Friends University also had the largest number of students advancing in the national round of any college or university in its region. “I am incredibly proud of our students and the dedication they have shown to their craft,” said Dr. Matthew Schloneger, associate professor of voice.  “This is a testament to the excellence of our program.  The fact that students from three different teachers advanced also demonstrates the high quality of our voice faculty.”

The following students have received national recognition:

Zachary Garraway, a sophomore majoring in music theatre, is one of three national finalists in the Lower College Tenor/Baritone/Bass Voices Musical Theatre division and will compete in the national finals in San Diego, Calif., July 7-9. Garraway is a voice student of Jennifer Marcum and was accompanied by Cindy Blasdel. Garraway is Friends first ever finalist in the National Student Auditions.

Naomi Cavanaugh, Hannah Howard, and Jordan Roth, all senior voice majors, were among 15 national semifinalists respectively in the Upper College Classical Treble Voices and Tenor/Baritone/Bass Voices divisions.  Cavanaugh was also named one of eight national semifinalists in the Upper College Advanced American Negro Spirituals division.  Cavanaugh and Roth are students of Dr. Matthew Schloneger and Howard is a student of Charleen Ayers. All three students were accompanied by Dr. Jamie Knight.

Abigail Kreis, a freshman voice major studying with Dr. Schloneger and accompanied by Cindy Blasdel, was one of 26 national quarterfinalists in the Lower College Treble Voices Classical division.

The national auditions were conducted virtually through the semifinal round.  The finals will be held in person at the 2023 NATS Summer Workshop, July 7-9, 2023 in San Diego, Calif.

For more information please contact the Fine Arts Box Office at 316-295-5677 or

Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.