Meet the Mendelssohn!
The 2019-2020 Mendelssohn Choir is made up of 140 unique, talented, and brilliant individuals. Check back here often for profiles of our fascinating singers!
Neighborhood of Residence: Greensburg PA
What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I run the music program at Pitt-Greensburg, directing two choirs, teaching music history, and overseeing music in our musical productions, and running our endowed concert series. Come check us out!
Number of Years with MCP: Rookie
Most Memorable Moment with MCP: Only a month in! But, after so many years of attending PSO and MCP concerts, of participating in backstage tours with students, it was a special thrill to finally be on stage when we had our Heinz Hall rehearsal with the orchestra and Maestro Honeck.
What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? Missa Solemnis
Who is your biggest fan? Mom, of course!
What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? I don’t know about first, but I can say for certain most important. I was a graduate student in Sociology at Chapel Hill, singing with the Carolina Choir and the Chamber Singers. We had the opportunity to join the Wheeling Symphony in a performance of Verdi Requiem under Rachel Worby. Fall of 1999, I believe? Bringing that work to life was the most affecting music experience of my life. Afterwards, at dinner, I said to my family there: “I’m doing the wrong thing: I should be making music.” I left my program to re-devote myself to choral music and conducting, and entered music school in AZ. I get to do what I do now because of that performance.
What’s the best restaurant in Pittsburgh? There’s more to Western PA than just the city: J Corks or Sun Dawg Café in Greensburg. Pickled Chef, Latrobe.
What’s always in your refrigerator? Home brews.
What is your hidden talent? I know some good chip tricks, but to see them, you’re going to have to play poker with me.
What is your most prized possession? I have a church pew that served as a hallway bench in my family’s house. With everyone growing up and moving on, and with parents moving around, it lived in dank storage for a while, and was in pretty bad shape when recovered. But I had it restored, and it now sits proudly in my living room. If I can take only one thing with me from my house, I’m strapping it to my back.
Neighborhood of Residence: Coraopolis
What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I manage PYCO School of Music & Music Store in the North Hills. Come visit me! I also teach voice lessons and actively sing with Coraopolis United Methodist Church and with other companies. I then spend as much time as I can with my husband Shane, my dog Wesson, and my family.
Number of Years with MCP: This is my first year!
Most Memorable Moment with MCP: I’m sure I will gather many memorable moments as we move into the season, but it was wonderful to be welcomed into this talented family of singers at retreat.
What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I’m very excited to be singing Stewart Copeland’s Satan’s Fall!
Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? I listen to top 40 and to my friends’ music! Check out Zealyn and Kirsten and the Pretty People.
Who is your biggest fan? Absolutely my parents! They have been to so many of my performances and supported my singing ever since I can remember.
What’s the best restaurant in Pittsburgh? Franklin Inn. The BEST Mexican food and Margaritas in Pittsburgh.
What’s always in your refrigerator? Cheese!
Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)? Shane and I have an adorable beabull (1/8 beagle and 7/8 bulldog) named Wesson! He’s two and a half and has an Instagram @wessonthebeabull.
Neighborhood of Residence: Mt. Lebanon
What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I manage Airbnb’s for a realty startup on the North Side!
Number of Years with MCP: First year
Most Memorable Moment with MCP: Going to the first rehearsal/retreat and immediately feeling welcomed because everyone is so kind
What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? Singing at Heinz Hall with all of these amazing musicians!
Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? Tough one. I’d say my favorite genre to listen to is indie/alt rock, and my favorite genre to sing is jazz.
What has surprised you most about participating in MCP? The humility. All singers and staff are exceptionally talented, skilled, and dedicated. They are incredible musicians and people, yet they never take it for granted.
What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? Singing Jesus Loves Me at my grandma’s church
What’s always in your refrigerator? Eggs from my parents’ chickens
What always brings a smile to your face? Driving through the Fort Pitt tunnel every morning to see the beautiful city of Pittsburgh!
Neighborhood of Residence: Squirrel Hill
What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? Hiking, Road trips, Live Music
Number of Years with MCP: 0 (My first season!)
Most Memorable Moment with MCP: The cookout at MaryColleen’s house.
What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I’m looking forward to exploring genres of music I haven’t performed and making some friends along the way.
Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? Indie folk
What is your current favorite band or artist? Maggie Rogers
What about post-show? What do you do to celebrate/unwind? Eat lots of pizza!
What’s your favorite place to take out-of-town visitors? Randyland
Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)?
What’s on your bucket list? Visiting every state in the U.S.
Neighborhood of Residence: Ford City, PA
What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I’m currently working on finishing my senior comprehensive project/thesis to receive a BA in Music from Allegheny College. In the meantime, I try to be on or beside the stage as often as I can and often work with the Armstrong Community Theater (ACT) as both a performer and production team member. In my free time, I’ve been working on clearing out junk at home, visiting any number of close friends who’ve moved into Pittsburgh after school, and playing D&D and other RPGs with some of those same people online.
Number of Years with MCP: This season will be my first year!
Most Memorable Moment with MCP: So far, it has to be standing with a group of singers at MaryColleen’s house as part of the half that tried their best to follow whatever standards Matt found to play on the piano.
What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I cannot wait to begin working on Satan’s Fall. The work sounds fascinating as a performer and getting to work with Stewart Copeland in person on his own work is an incredible opportunity for any musician.
Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? I adore listening to different interpretations of folk music and sea shanties.
What is your current favorite song to sing along to? “Sailor Song” by Autoheart
What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? While I’ve felt genuinely emotional in performances prior to this instance, I remember being particularly moved while performing the song “On the Death of a Friend” by Steven Sametz, the guest director for that PMEA All-State Chorus concert. The combination of the simple but earnest text and excellent emotional sensitivity in the music itself was a powerful reminder of why I never want to lose the love I have for vocal music.
What always brings a smile to your face? Anytime I finish a show or a concert and I get to speak with people who found themselves genuinely invested in the performance one way or another, that enthusiasm and gratitude is a gift and chance to smile without reservation that I’ll never take for granted.
Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)? The pet is not mine, directly, but I often help to watch and take care of my girlfriend’s dog, Boulette (“Meatball” in French). She’s a beautiful, brown pitbull and labrador mix with just the saddest amber eyes you ever did see (Boulette, not my girlfriend).