When music education major and accredited vocalist Ontario Williams began rehearsing for the 2020 Southeastern Region National Association of Teachers of Singing (SERNATS) Annual Conference earlier this year, little did he know how much the coronavirus pandemic would impact his senior year at Augusta University.
While Williams is set to graduate this coming December, his final SERNATS conference and student audition in March was held virtually due to concerns about COVID-19.
Instead of traveling to Georgia Southern University for the competition, Williams submitted a video accompanied by Dr. Julie Neish, director of choral activities and assistant professor of music-voice at Augusta University.
“This was my third year competing in SERNATS and each year the conference is held in a different state or region such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands,” Williams said. “This year, it would have been in Statesboro at Georgia Southern and, typically, we would be competing live, face to face with our judges. But not this year. With coronavirus, nothing has been typical this year.”