St. Cecilia Academy is proud to announce that eleven student vocal performances earned the highest possible rank of superior at this year’s Middle Tennessee Vocal Association’s Solo & Ensemble Festival...
Under the direction of Choir and Vocal Director Ms. Stephanie Hahn Nolan, singers in grades 10-12 prepared and submitted videos for adjudication by a panel of judges. In addition to two Broadway solo pieces, St. Cecilia singers prepared an impressive range of classical pieces from composers such as Pergolesi, Rheinberger, Faure, and Oreste Ravenello, the composer of the Cantantibus Organis which is performed annually for the feast of St. Cecilia and other special occasions. The St. Cecilia students had to master from memory eight solos, one duet, one trio, and the Cantantibus, no small feat. According to Ms. Nolan, preparation for the MTVA festival was intense and began many months in advance. The Advanced Choir students developed a strong work ethic as they prepared the entire Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi for a Palm Sunday performance earlier this year.
Ms. Nolan is very proud of her students’ superior ratings, especially given this school year in which the pandemic challenged the pursuit of excellence in singing in many ways. “Many positive comments from the adjudicators were focused on beautiful tone, good posture, intonation, and overall presentation,” she said. “For the ensemble pieces, SCA students also received high praise for blend and artistry.”
Senior Claudia Schorr, who will major in voice performance next year at Loyola University in New Orleans, was one of the seniors who received superior scores for her performances. “When this year started, it was hard to see how we could end up here!” she said. “I’m so happy we could finish up on this high note!”
St. Cecilia Academy, named for the patron saint of music, has maintained a long tradition of excellence in singing and the arts. During this upcoming 2021 – 2022 academic year, the voice program will expand to include all freshmen. The hallmark SCA freshman fine arts class, Visual and Performing Arts (VAP), will introduce a new component called “The Singing Voice” in addition to Dance, Drama, and Visual Art, giving all students an opportunity for an integrated experience of the fine arts in which to develop their confidence and appreciation for beauty.
As the Choir and Vocal Director at St. Cecilia Academy for the last nine years, Stephanie Nolan has taught many young women to discover their voices through her energetic and encouraging leadership. Thanks to Ms. Nolan’s training, several students in the Class of 2021 will go on to pursue degrees in classical vocal performance and musical theater. As Stephanie says, “Every student has the innate ability to make beautiful, joyful sounds! I want my students to learn that singing is natural and fun and that whether or not they go on to make singing their life’s work, they will discover an inner confidence and courage by the mere practice of doing it!”
Visit stcecilia.edu/finearts to learn more about the Fine Arts department.