CCSC is proud of our alumni and will always consider them an important part of our organization. After graduating from high school, our former choristers have gone on to a variety of colleges and universities to study everything from music to veterinary medicine. They live across the United States and in various other countries. We stay in touch, in part, through our CCSC Alumni Facebook page and welcome updates to include here. If you would like to share your post-CCSC story, please send a recent photo and recap to Martha Vater, Be sure to include your favorite CCSC moment!
Featured Alumni Biographies
DIANE ANDREWS Diane sang with the children’s chorus for only a few years but is very grateful for the experience she had. Diane is currently 22 years old and pursuing opera at the professional level, studying with her voice teacher, Bonnie Hamilton in Manhattan. She is also taking some classes at Mannes College of Music and has studied privately with Dr. Rudolph Palmer in music composition and orchestration. Although Diane has gifts in composing, her primary focus right now is perfecting her technique and preparing for major vocal competitions. She is considered a lirico-spinto soprano with a “unique color and dramatic feel.” In her recital career, Diane has previously performed the roles of Liu in Puccini’s Turandot, Tosca in Verdi’s Tosca, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicci, and Lenora in Verdi’s La Forza Del Destino as well as other works. She will also be featured in an upcoming 2012 production of Porgy and Bess in Chicago. Her goal is to continue her recital career as she is working towards her professional operatic career with her teacher. Diane is grateful for the opportunity Mrs. Deborah Mello gave her, as she said, “The Children’s Chorus of Sussex County opened my eyes to a whole new world of classical singing, which I had not experienced previously. If it were not for that experience I might not have later recognized my gift for singing opera.” Diane is looking forward to new opportunities that come her way and is excited to be joining the Children’s Chorus in their upcoming 20th Anniversary Concert.
STEPHENI BAUMANN Stepheni Baumann spent seven years with CCSC. A student in the Vernon schools, she joined CCSC in 6th grade. In Vernon, she wasn’t allowed to participate in both instrumental and choral music, so she felt lucky that her mom had heard of CCSC and was able to solve that dilemma outside of school. She writes, “I was in Children’s Chorus from 1996 through 2002. During that time we had some wonderful opportunities that I never could have had anywhere else. These included singing in Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic, working with world-renowned conductors such as Doreen Rao and composers such as Juan ‘Tony’ Guzman, and singing ‘at home’ in the States in the National Cathedral and Carnegie Hall.” Stepheni’s experience with CCSC was ‘instrumental’ in her decision to study vocal music, as well as the French Horn and music education at Elizabethtown College. It was there she met Josep, an exchange student from Spain. Stepheni spent several years teaching in NH and in Vernon NJ before deciding she wanted to be with Josep in Spain. She has lived in Madrid for 2 ½ years, where she teaches English as a second language and hasn’t given up on her dream of teaching music in an American School there. She looks forward to catching up with CCSC in July when the Concert Choir will make a stop in Paris.
SCOTT MELLO Scott Mello has followed his passion and developed a successful career in music. He sang with CCSC only a couple of years, from 1990-1992, but we enjoy his return visits and guest solos. After graduation from Kittatinny Regional High School, Scott went on to Oberlin Conservatory where he graduated in 2002 with a degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance. He subsequently received his MM in Vocal Performance from NYU in 2008 and will begin work on his Artist Diploma at Yale this September, where he will concentrate on Early Music, Oratorio, and Chamber Ensemble. Scott has made use of all of his studies, serving on the faculty at Seton Hall University for six years and currently on the voice faculties of Washington & Lee University as well as the University of Richmond. If possible, his career as a tenor is even more impressive. He has been praised for his 'winningly lucid voice' (WCLV) and has traveled extensively to perform. Scott has been recorded with the likes of Apollo's Fire and Bach Sinfonia and has performed with The Philadelphia Bach Institute, Orchestra Nova San Diego, and the Aspen Music Festival, to name just a few. In June, he will appear with the Bach Collegium San Diego, just prior to joining CCSC for our 20th Anniversary Concert in NJ on June 18. For much more about Scott, please visit his website at http://www.scott-mello.com.
KATIE WILSON Katie Wilson has recently completed her third year of veterinary school at Oklahoma State University. She joined CCSC during fifth grade and stayed through her senior year. After graduation from Newton High School, Katie left Sussex County behind and drove south to Clemson University, where she graduated in 3 ½ years with a degree in Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine. She spent a year interning at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, TX and then moved on to Stillwater, OK to begin her graduate studies. Katie sang in a choir at Clemson, but her favorite organized choral experience since CCSC was with a church choir at a local Baptist Church in SC. Now, she sings while she drives between NJ and OK, accompanied by her two dogs! We miss you, Katie!
KIM SWANEVELD Kim Swaneveld started with CCSC in 1997 and was part of our Concert Choir for four years. After graduating from North Warren Regional High School in June, 2001, Kim studied at Muhlenberg College where she received a degree in Theater and Psychology. She subsequently moved to Alaska where she worked out in the bush at a lodge. She now lives in town in Kodiak, where she works at the community mental health center, treating emotionally disturbed children. Kim hasn’t been part of a choir in recent years, but enjoys singing at home and in the car and still remembers many of the songs she learned with Mrs. Mello and her fellow choristers. We hope you’ll visit next time you’re in NJ!