Jill Terhaar Lewis, Regional Governor

Known for her beautiful timbre and musical versatility, Jill Terhaar Lewis is in demand as a full-lyric soprano. She has performed as a soloist with esteemed classical ensembles such as the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO), the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and the Hilton Head Choral Society. In addition to her work as a classical soloist, she also has extensive experience with modern and contemporary styles. She has performed with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra and was a featured soloist along with members of the Jazz Artists of Charleston in the Hi-Harmony concert at the Charleston Music Hall. She has been a recitalist on various prestigious concert series including several spotlight performances with the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the Baker and Baker Recital Series, the CSO Magnetic South Series, and the Women & Concert Series. She is a frequent soloist and collaborator with the Charleston Southern Concert Singers and has traveled extensively with them performing throughout Europe as well as in New York City and the surrounding areas.

Jill regularly performs recitals and has a penchant for Late-Romantic music and American art song, and has extensive experience with opera and premiering new music. Jill is married to jazz musician and saxophonist Robert Lewis. Together they collaborate with jazz pianist Gerald Gregory as The In-Between, an ensemble performing new compositions and arrangements by the group that lie both in and in-between classical and jazz genres. They have performed in the South, toured the Pacific Northwest, and made their international debut in Denmark. They have also recorded and released several albums.

Dr. Lewis is a tenured Professor of Vocal Music and Chair of the Vocal Programs at Charleston Southern. She earned her DMA in Vocal Performance with a cognate in music history from the University of South Carolina. She also has degrees from Western Michigan University (MM performance, music history cognate) and the University of Idaho (BMusEd, choral). She coordinates the vocal curriculum, teaches voice lessons and other classes and is also the music history teacher. She is a founder of Contemporary Collaborations, along with composers Trevor Weston and later Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, a new music project where student composers team up with student singers and poets to create new works for chamber ensembles resulting in dozens of new compositions and performances. Dr. Lewis and Dr. Vassilandonakis have presented on this project at an SC NATS Fall Workshop and again at the NATS National Conference in Chicago.

In her community, Dr. Lewis has volunteered her time and services to various organizations. She is co-artistic director of the St. John the Beloved Concert Series in Summerville. She has served as co-chair for the Charleston Jazz Festival, has been vocal consultant for the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and has worked as a clinician and presenter for Charleston Jazz. Dr. Lewis is a co-founder of the Empathy Project with Dr. Jennifer Whipple, MT-BC and Maurice Burgess. This is a project to foster the development of empathy in young teens through interactive experiences with performing and visual artists in the community.

A member of NATS since 2001, Dr. Lewis has long been of service to her chapter, region, and nationally. She has served as Secretary and Vice President/Auditions Coordinator for her chapter, overseeing two days of nearly 500 student auditions. While Vice President, she also got SCNATS onto social media. She has also served as President and is the current District Governor. As DG, she has formed a membership committee, implemented a mentor program for new members, and planned and executed a series of Outreach Workshops. The Outreach Workshops bring SCNATS members to underserved areas of the state to provide workshops and master classes for our current members as well as for the community at large. The workshops are offered free through the NATS Discretionary Grant and chapter funding and have proved to be a great way to connect current members and recruit new members while serving the community.

She has been the recording secretary for the region and regularly serves in the tally room. She has also been appointed to two national NATS committees: the NATS Education Commission and the NATS Advocacy Committee, where she also serves as the recording secretary. Also through NATS, Dr. Lewis has had great success with her voice students. Since it became a national competition, Dr. Lewis has had several students advance to the semi-final rounds of the NATS National Student Auditions. Dr. Lewis believes in the NATS organization and is excited for the opportunity to serve the Mid-Atlantic Region.


Elizabeth Byrum Linnartz, Treasurer


Elizabeth Byrum Linnartz is currently Lecturer in Voice at Duke University, where she joined the faculty in 2004.  In addition to teaching full-time at Duke, she has a large private studio and holds frequent choral and vocal workshops in the Triangle area.  She has many former students now teaching voice and singing professionally.  Before coming to Duke, Linnartz held adjunct positions at UNC Chapel Hill, Institute Injil Indonesia in Batu, East Java, and Columbia International University.

Appearing regularly in recitals, oratorio, and the occasional opera, Linnartz’s deepest interest is sacred music.  She has collaborated with Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts on lecture recitals and choral collaborations with Easter at Kings College Festivals.  She was a Lecturing Fellow at Duke Divinity School in 2015. 

Linnartz holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance and Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from UNC Greensboro School of Music, where she was a Hayes Fellow and a PEO Scholar; she also holds a B. A. in Music magna cum laude from Duke University. She studied at Oberlin Conservatory's Baroque Performance Institute and is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society.  However, her greatest endeavor and satisfaction has been raising her five children.

Charles Higgins, Mid-Atlantic Liaison to The NATS Foundation


“Tenor Charles Higgins voice effortlessly lifted the audience with a ringing high C in the aria Che gelida manina” during last evenings performance of Puccini’s La Boheme. His Rodolfo was full of a vulnerability that made the listener believe he was both a “poet” and an accomplished singer (Dr. Elizabeth Jones Cochran, Arts of Atlanta magazine).

His opera/operetta roles include: Lieutenant Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme, Alfred in Johann Strauss II Die Fledermaus, Tamino In Die Zauberflote, Lennie in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Count Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Giles Corey in Robert Ward’s The Crucible, Michele in Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street, King Caspar in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Basilio in Mozart’s Le nozze de Figaro, and others. He has sung in opera venues from Sarasota to Boston and as far west as Louisiana.

Higgins has twice worked under Maestro Robert Shaw as tenor in the quartet in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and as soloist in Part I of Handel’s Messiah. He has performed solos in the Schubert mass in “C” with Joseph Flummerfelt directing. Over his career he has worked with choral societies and Symphony Orchestras throughout the southeast. His work includes Oratorio and other choral works from Bach, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner, Handel, Corelli, Vivaldi, and others. He was one of several featured singers on Georgia Public Television’s “Rising Artists of Georgia” in recital at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center of Atlanta.

His work in regional Musical Theater includes many roles from the golden age. He spent two years as a singer/dancer at Walt Disney World where he worked with movie and stage icons and performed in a Walt Disney Television Special. His Music Theater symphony appearances include “An Evening of Lerner and Loewe”, “An evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein”, and “An Evening of Cole Porter.”

He holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Voice Performance from the Stetson University School of Music and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting. He competed extensively in vocal competitions and has much to offer from his successes. Recently, he has devoted his professional life to teaching at Chapel Hill School of Musical Arts and Darton State College, while dedicating himself to directing theatrical musicals and choral organizations. As a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, his students regularly do well, often placing 1st in the North Carolina chapter. Recently he has had a student honored as Outstanding Music Theater Singer in the four Mid-Atlantic states of NATS, Outstanding Male Vocalist in North Carolina and has had a student who won 1st place in High School Men Music Theater for the Nation in the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Jennifer Bryant Pedersen, Webmaster


Jennifer Bryant Pedersen, soprano, maintains an active schedule as a soloist and teacher. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at Mars Hill University, NC.

Her performance highlights include, a solo cabaret performance with Ricky Ian Gordon, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte, Nedda in Pagliacci, and Margot in The Desert Song. In 2015, Jennifer performed the role of Daphne Colgate in the world premiere of Gregory Vayda’s Georgia Bottoms with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra.  She appeared as a soprano soloist in the complete Handel's Messiah and Bach’s B minor Mass with members of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra. Jennifer was a semi-finalist in the 2013 NFMC Bienniel Young Artist Competition in Greenville, South Carolina and is the 2010 and 2014 NATS Artist Award winner for the state of Alabama and first alternate for the Southeastern region.

She holds the DMA in Voice Performance from The University of Alabama and the MM in Voice Performance from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is on the NOA's Chamber Opera Competition Committee and a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society.