ballerina warming up


Every year, the NSAL Arizona gives out monetary awards to winners in Dance (Classical Modern), Literature, Music (Voice), and soon, Visual Arts. On a four-year, rotating basis, we hold competitions in Dance, Drama, Instrumental Music, and Musical Theater. These chapter winners then compete for larger prize money at the national level.

At our Annual Awards Dinner, held in Phoenix each spring, we give out our Medallion of Merit Award – the highest honor bestowed by NSAL. This award pays tribute to an individual (or couple) whose lifetime commitment to the arts embodies the highest standards. 

We also recognize Arizona leaders who are making an impact on our culture, family life, work, leisure, and/or education through the arts. We bestow Arts Advocacy Awards to a nonprofit individual and nonprofit group, in addition to our Arts Educator Award. On occasion, we’ll pay tribute to a deserving individual with our Lifetime Achievement Award.

modern dancers

Current Award Winners

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Annual Awards Dinner has been postponed to the spring of 2021. These are the winners:

2021 Chapter Competition Awards

2021 Dance Competition Winner:

Paityn Lauzon
Paityn started dancing at age 3 and fell in love with ballet by the age of 10. She has performed several memorable Nutcracker roles, including three consecutive years starring as Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy simultaneously (2018, 2017, 2016). Paityn danced the lead role of Giselle in a full theatre production (2018) and performed as Belle in Beauty and the Beast (2018). Paityn has attended Intensive training at Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Oregon Ballet Theatre, as well as on scholarship at Grand Rapids Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet School, Boca Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Paityn has had success in numerous competitions, notably earning top 12 in both classical and contemporary categories (2018, 2017) at the Youth America Grand Prix Phoenix North America Semi-Finals. Paityn placed 2nd at the National Society of Arts and Letters National Classical Ballet Competition, NSAL Arizona (2017), as well as 2nd place at the National Society of Arts and Letters Dance Competition (Classical Modern), Phoenix Chapter (2018, 2017). Paityn also won the Bronze Medal in both classical and contemporary categories at the Indianapolis City Ballet Competition (2017). Paityn is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in ballet with an outside field in astronomy at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she received the Premier Young Artist Award and has been recognized as a Founder’s Scholar for her outstanding GPA. She will graduate from IU in May 2022.
Paityn Lauzon

2020 Annual Awards

Medallion of Merit Award: Dr. Judith Wolf

Judith G. Wolf, is a poet and artist. A Buffalo, New York native and longtime resident of Phoenix, Arizona, her published poetry collections include “Weeping Shadows,” “Tidbits,” and “Otherwise.”

A number of Dr. Wolf’s writings have been set to music, including 12 compositions from “Otherwise” that were included in a work entitled “Poems of Life.” It was created by the noted composer Kenneth Fuchs, and it premiered with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 2017. “Poems of Life” was also recorded at Abbey Road with the London Philharmonic as part of a four-selection recording of Fuchs’ music, and it won a coveted Grammy Award in the Classical Compendium category in 2019.

Dr. Wolf’s poem, “Fresh Grief” was put to music by Michael Lewi and premiered in Chandler, Arizona in 2018. A variety of her other writings have also been set to music.

A creative arts advocate, Dr. Wolf founded Arizona Spark, which supports the development and production of new and innovative operatic works for Arizona Opera. Additionally, she co-founded the Phoenix Symphony Commissioning Club, which commissioned new compositions by four noteworthy composers, including Daron Hagen and Kenneth Fuchs.

Notably, Dr. Wolf also co-founded Young Arts Arizona Ltd., a nonprofit art organization that serves at-risk children by exhibiting their artwork and teaching art to underserved children in medical facilities. She is a Reiki master and a Doctor of Ministry through the Universal Life Church.

Dr. Wolf’s diverse educational and professional background includes a Ph.D. in educational psychology, a master’s degree in elementary and remedial education, and extensive experience in arts administration. She also serves on several boards of directors, including Arizona Opera and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Arizona District.

Arts Advocacy Award, Organization: Mark Mettes, Herberger Theater Center

The Herberger Center is Phoenix’s center stage, engaging the community through diverse arts experiences that ignite emotion, stimulate conversation, and inspire connections with the arts.

The Herberger Theater is an essential part of downtown Phoenix, the Valley and the state. With six resident performing companies, there are more artists and more audiences than ever before in its 30-year history. Many of these audiences are coming to the Herberger Theater for the first time, which helps promote the paradigm that downtown is a desirable place to live, work and play.

The theater is committed to sustaining youth and community outreach programs, designed to give Arizona children opportunities to excel, learn and heal through their experience with the arts. It continues to expand its role in the arts community by adding new approaches to engage the public and arts community and use performance and interactive art to break down barriers, creating an environment where all members of the community feel welcome.

Mark Mettes, the president & CEO of the Herberger Theater Center, has been part of the Herberger
team for over 25 years. He has been involved in the International Association of Venue Managers
for many years and is currently the immediate past chair of the board of directors after serving three years on the board representing the performing arts sector.

Arts Advocacy Award – Individual: Mollie C. Trivers

Mollie C. Trivers is the director of major gifts at ASU Gammage. At the historic Frank Lloyd Wright designed Gammage, the donor base has grown from 100 in the year 2000 to 1300 in 2020. She has secured over $7,000,000 in capital improvements for the venue.

Trivers has 40 years of experience in nonprofit and arts management. Among her accomplishments are serving on the founding staff for KBAQ, the NPR Classical Music Radio Station and Business Volunteers for the Arts. She was also the program director at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts.

In addition to accomplishments in fundraising and donor relations, Trivers has over 30 years in grants management in the public sector at the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture. Since 1995, she has served as the executive director of the Whiteman Foundation and the Whiteman 4G Foundation, founded for the fourth generation of Whitemans to be involved in philanthropy. She has served on the board of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum and the Collaborative Initiative to support mergers and acquisitions among nonprofits.

Arts Educator Award: Dale Dreyfoos

Dale Dreyfoos has had a multi-faceted career as a stage director, character tenor, actor, educator, and arts administrator. He currently serves as Professor of Opera/Music Theatre at Arizona State University, a position he has held since 1994, where he received the “Distinguished Professor Award” for the College of Fine Arts in 1996. His many exceptional  students have had internationally and nationally successful careers at many of the most prestigious opera houses throughout the world, as well as on Broadway, Broadway International and National tours, and in many regional theaters throughout the country.

As a stage director, Mr. Dreyfoos has directed over 50 productions of operas, operettas, and musicals, for such companies as Opera Carolina, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and Charleston Opera Company. His recent production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” for ASU Music Theatre and Opera won second and third prize in two national opera competitions, and his production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” was the winner of 8 Ari-Zoni Awards, including best music theater production and best stage director.

Mr. Dreyfoos began his performing career at the age of 10 as the boy soprano soloist with the Atlanta Boy Choir, during which time he appeared as a soloist in Mozart’s “Vesperae Solennes de Confessore” with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as appearing in the French, Spanish, and Moroccan premieres of Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera “The Golden Vanity.” Since that time, Mr. Dreyfoos has made a specialty of performing over 30 character roles in opera, operetta, and musical theater.

Mr. Dreyfoos is also the author of two highly acclaimed educational music dramas, “A Visit With Amadeus” and “A Visit With Mr. & Mrs. Bach,” which have received over 2,000 performances throughout the eastern U.S. He has also recently served as author of two narration scripts for the 50th anniversary of the Santa Fe Opera and an Opera Gala for Arizona Opera, which were narrated by Frederica Von Stade and Hugh Downs, respectively. From 1996-2010, he served as a stage artistry instructor for the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

2020 Chapter Competition Awards

2020 Music (Classical Voice) Competition Winner:

Mary Kray

Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, mezzo-soprano, Mary Kray, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Northern Arizona University, where she studied with Deborah Raymond. She performed the roles of Third Lady in Mozart’s, Die Zauberflöte, Margaret in Adam Guettel’s, The Light in the Piazza, Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Principessa in Puccini’s, Suor Angelica.

Her oratorio performances include alto soloist in Bach’s, Magnificat, Vivaldi’s, Gloria, and Beethoven’s, Ninth Symphony. In 2018, Kray received an Encouragement Award in the Arizona District Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and in 2019, she was a winner, advancing to the Rocky Mountain Regional level.

At NAU, Kray was a recipient of the Edgar Stone Award and the Nando Schellen Opera Singer of Promise Award (with an international panel of judges). She was awarded a substantial scholarship in 2019 to study in Oberaudorf, Germany at the Musiktheater Bavaria program. 

2020 Dance (Classical Modern) Competition Winners:

1st Place: Caroline Young
2nd Place: Katie Tuchi
3rd Place: Tied – Axel Guadalupe Becerra Hernandez and Savaughnah Yohannes
Honorable Mention: Jada Randall

2020 Musical Theater Competition Winner:

1st Place: Haley Reed

Haley Kay Reed is an Arizona State University student in musical theatre. She has studied ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, swing dance, and voice. Her awards have included: 2018 Jimmy Award Nominee, 2018 ASU Gammage High School Musical Theater Best Leading Actress Award, ariZoni nominee for best leading actress, NYA winner, and 2nd place in the NATS Musical Theater Competition. 

Haley will be representing the NSAL Arizona in the 2020 national competition.

Haley Reed studies musical theatre at ASU

2019 Drama Competition Winner:

1st Place: Bethany Baca

Bethany Baca
Bethany Baca, currently works in local theatre productions

2019 Literature Competition  (Poetry) Award Winners:

High School Seniors:

1st Place: Robert Yalam 
2nd Place: Katrina Ager 
3rd Place: Justin Loo
Honorable Mention: Willa Kirsch-Stancliff, Helen Haber

High School Juniors:

1st Place: Shalyssa Burns
2nd Place: Emma Wymore
3rd Place: Ivann Guevara

writing poetry
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