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Music Professor Nicholas Perna Receives National Honor

MC music professor Nicholas K. Perna of Clinton.
MC music professor Nicholas K. Perna of Clinton.

Nicholas K. Perna shines as a talented professor who’s taught musical styles ranging from opera to rock and pops.

A Mississippi College professor of voice pedagogy since 2015, Perna recently earned a major national honor in his field. The published researcher was selected to be a presenter at the 2020 National Association of Teachers of Singing conference.

The organization’s 56th annual meeting is booked for Knoxville, Tennessee June 26-30.

Comprised of more than 7,000 members in the USA, Canada and over 35 other countries, the organization is the world’s largest professional association of teachers of singing.

Teachers in elementary grades, high schools or colleges as well as instructors at independent studios, these versatile educators are quite familiar with all vocal styles.

Perna was thrilled to be chosen this Fall. “We were one of fewer than 40 accepted proposals out of 233 applications from all over the world.”

Music Department Chair Angie Willoughby and other colleagues applauded his selection.

An active NATS member, Perna served as a past governor of the group’s West Virginia District. The tenor has performed with the Mississippi Opera, and twice apprenticed with the Santa Fe Opera. He maintains a music studio in Clinton.

Perna will team with Mississippi College music graduate Sarah Pigott and a colleague from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Josie Alston, to make their conference presentation. Alston is the chief of speech language pathology at UMMC. They will present their research over the past three years.

Their upcoming lecture is titled “Singers and Self Laryngeal Manipulation: What Singing Teachers Need to Know.” They will discuss how singers massage their neck to prepare for a performance.

Besides teaching duties on the Clinton campus, Perna works as a researcher at UMMC’s Voice Research Laboratory in Jackson. He’s been published in the “Journal of Singing” and the “Journal of Voice,” among others.

The Clinton resident received his music bachelor’s degree in voice performance at the University of Miami and a master’s in voice performance at the University of Houston. He earned his doctorate in music in voice pedagogy and performance at Miami.

Audiences may remember Nicholas Perna appearing on stage at the Mississippi Opera in 2018. The tenor performed as Pong in “Turandot” by Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini.