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.
2019 Barbara Cass Award Finalists:
- Mia Fantini, Oakland Catholic High School
- Caroline Friend, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
- Emma Hicks, Pittsburgh CAPA
- Nathan Reynolds, Westinghouse Arts Academy
The Junior Mendelssohn Choir is very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2019 Barbara Cass Award is Mia Fantini!
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|
|Joseph Helinski||Erin Schmura|
|Morgan Hopkins||Samuel Viggiano|
|Meredith Jester||Sarah Williams|
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.