The Barbara Cass Award for the Junior Mendelssohn Choir

The Barbara Cass Award recognizes and honors the most outstanding member of the Junior Mendelssohn Choir selected each year by their peers for their knowledge, zeal, and commitment to the singing ensemble. This individual represents the highest standards of preparation, vocal growth, attitude, and consistent participation. The Mendelssohn Choir believes that knowledgeable and dedicated members are the heart of any ensemble and deserve recognition. The award includes a cash prize, and a commemorative trophy.

The award was established in honor of the work of Barbara Cass whose founding vision and zeal brought the Junior Mendelssohn Choir to life in the 1986-87 concert season. Made possible through the generosity of the late Mr. C. Hax McCullough, a former Emeritus Member of the MCP Board of Directors, the award is supported through a dedicated fund at the Pittsburgh Foundation. Every member of the Junior Mendelssohn is eligible for consideration.

2023 Barbara Cass Award Finalists:

  • Maria Catana, Bethel Park High School
  • Jordan Fowler, Shaler Area High School
  • Cecily Marsh, Homeschool
  • Clara Yuo, Aquinas Academy

The Junior Mendelssohn Choir is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2023 Barbara Cass Award is Cecily Marsh!

Previous Barbara Cass Award Winners

Alexandra Adams Carly Cathlyn Koza
Eli Berman Mollie Landman
Stephen Patrick Dragan Alexandra Loutsion
Singen Elliott Maureen Megan
Lauren Eshbaugh Katherine M. Rostek
Mia Fantini Erin Schmura
Alex Farb Avani Venkat
Joseph Helinski Samuel Viggiano
Morgan Hopkins Sarah Williams
Meredith Jester


Lauren EshbaughThe Lauren Nicole Eshbaugh Scholarship

Lauren Nicole Eshbaugh was a member of the Junior Mendelssohn Choir from 2003 through 2007, and was honored to be the recipient of the Barbara Cass Award in 2007. Lauren sang with the River City Youth Chorale and The Children’s Festival Chorus. She was a high-honor student and graduated from Indiana Area High School in 2008, and represented her high school at the Pennsylvania State Chorus festivals her junior and senior years.

Lauren chose to study vocal performance at Carnegie Mellon University, but was diagnosed with an advanced stage of a rare pediatric soft tissue cancer, and had to take medical leave from school to undergo aggressive chemotherapy. In the summer of 2009, Lauren’s cancer went into remission and she returned to CMU to restart her freshman year. Her cancer returned in late October, but this time Lauren refused to leave school, stating that she was making the choice “to be happy.” Lauren completed her freshman year, and passed away just one week later. She is missed and loved by her family, friends, teachers, and all those whose lives she touched.

In memory of Lauren’s indefatigable spirit, we are proud to announce the Lauren Nicole Eshbaugh Memorial Scholarship that will make it possible for other young men and women to explore their passion for song by participating in the Junior Mendelssohn.