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.

2022 Barbara Cass Award Finalists:

  • Elaine Gombos, Shady Side Academy
  • Victoria Niedermayer, Pittsburgh CAPA
  • Sanjana Reddy, South Fayette High School
  • Avani Venkat, Sewickley Academy

The Junior Mendelssohn Choir will announce the winner of the 2022 Barbara Cass Award during our fall performance on November 20!

Previous Barbara Cass Award Winners

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


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.