St. Cecilia Music Center's School of Music gives students of all skill levels the tools they need to become successful performing artists. Read more below about how SCMC has impacted the lives of some of our graduates.
"St. Cecilia Music Center changed my life and is the reason why I'm a professional musician today.
In high school, I came to SCMC to audition for one of the after-school orchestras and was THRILLED to be placed in the Philharmonic. When I arrived for my first rehearsal, I found myself as the last chair in the second violin section, which isn't where I had expected to find myself, to be honest. So, I started practicing and practicing--and found a way to afford private lessons with the help of some family friends. Within two years, I was sitting in the concertmaster chair.
From the moment I walked through the door, it felt like there was an entire team of people working with me, supporting me, and rooting for my success. I come from a really large family and there just wasn't enough money for extras like music lessons. Tuition was always covered through SCMC's financial aid program. And if I didn't have a ride home from rehearsals on Monday nights, someone was always willing to take me.
While a member of the Philharmonic, I also had the opportunity to attend the Presenting Series Performances in Royce Auditorium. What I loved most about those evenings was being able to meet the musicians after the concerts. When you're able to sit with famous musicians and have normal conversations with them, you realize that they're just regular people. And that realization made my musical aspirations seem not so impossible. I could be just like them.
SCMC provided a safe space to be a real musician in a real concert hall. Beyond the notes on the page, I learned how to work with a group to create something bigger than we were individually. I was coached by really skilled conductors who opened up a whole new world to me. While I love all styles of music, I’m so happy to have gotten my classical foundation at SCMC because, as it turns out, the skills that I learned early on apply to everything else.
In March, I had the opportunity to perform a song at the Helen DeVos Legacy Award Gala that honored Stella Royce and her remarkable impact on the arts community in Grand Rapids. Chuck and Stella Royce were some of my biggest cheerleaders during my time at SCMC--they even took me to my very first opera for my birthday one year--so being a part of this special celebration was very meaningful for me.
Music is everything to me now. I teach--violin, viola, piano, and voice--and I perform as a tenor all over the world. For me, St. Cecilia Music Center is home. And I know that's how countless others in the community feel as well."
SCMC School of Music Alumnus
"As a professional pianist, I’ve been fortunate to have some really amazing opportunities. I’ve traveled and lived all over–Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Aspen, and Toronto–studying and performing with hundreds of inspiring and talented musicians. But it all started for me at St. Cecilia Music Center.
As a young piano student, I participated in monthly Music Clubs and performed in the annual Eight Pianos Concert, which was truly the pinnacle musical experience of my childhood.
St. Cecilia Music Center isn't just a beautiful concert venue. It’s a place where young instrumentalists gain excellent training, artistic expertise, self-confidence, and life-long friendships. Still today, my memories of being a young performer in Royce Auditorium provide vital encouragement as I continue building my career as a musician."
SCMC School of Music Alumnus