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.

2016 Barbara Cass Award Finalists:

  • Alexandra Adams, Southside High School
  • Ariana Finkelstein, Pittsburgh CAPA
  • Megan Vareha, Penn Trafford High School
  • Jacob Wei, Franklin Regional High School

The Junior Mendelssohn Choir is proud to announce that the winner of the 2016 Barbara Cass Award is Alexandra Adams!

Previous Barbara Cass Award Winners

Eli Berman Carly Cathlyn Koza
Stephen Patrick Dragan Alexandra Loutsion
Singen Elliott Maureen Megan
Lauren Eshbaugh Erin Schmura
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.

The Junior Mendelssohn Choir is delighted to announce that the recipients of the 2016 Lauren Nicole Eshbaugh Memorial Scholarship are Joshua Anderson, Nasir Butler, Eric S. Carter, Jr., Katherine Grace Frontz, Ganina Gonzalez, Garren Hoffman, Mollie Landman, Diana Slater, and Savannah Wesolowski.  Congratulations!

Previous Lauren Nicole Eshbaugh Memorial Scholarship Winners

Eli Berman
Michael Bodomov
Christian Alexander Bové
Nasir Butler
Gavin E. Carnahan
Ganina Gonzalez
Mollie Landman
Sean Michael Nypaver
Miranda Pino