B.Mus.’93, B.Mus.Ed. ’94, currently enrolled in M.Mus., Vocal Performance and Pedagogy
Current Location: St. John’s, NL
Professionally: Shelley is a singer who doesn’t like to limit herself to one style of music. She likes to say that she sings everyday and some days is lucky enough to get paid for it! One night you can find her singing Vissi D'arte with the Newfoundland Symphony and the next, Mambo Italiano at the Majestic Theatre. Her voice teacher at the School of Music was Dr. Caroline Hart and Shelley contributes her decision to go on and further her musical studies after MUN to Dr. Hart’s encouragement. After finishing her conjoint program in '94 Shelley continued her studies at the University of Toronto where she obtained an Artist Diploma (Honours) in 1996 and also an Opera Diploma (Honours) in 1999. Afterward she sang with the Canadian Opera Company for two seasons until deciding to move back to St. John's. About her decision, Shelley says “This city has always had an appeal that is rooted deeply within me.... And it is not just because I was born here. I love Newfoundland, its challenges and all it has to offer.”
In September 2006 Shelley returned to MUN to begin a Master of Music under Dr. Caroline Schiller. She decided it was the right time to go back, having done all kinds of other music related activities over the years. From dinner theatre and church choir conducting to singing at weddings/wedding receptions and acting as a television personality: if you can name it, Shelley did it. With all the different threads of her professional life, Shelley came to feel she wanted to focus on singing and nothing else for a while. She felt the program here was geared towards what she wanted as a musician and that coupled with learning invaluable pedagogical techniques in voice, made MUN the right choice for her. “My two greatest loves are singing and teaching singing to others. Here I get the opportunity to concentrate on both.”
This past summer Shelley was in Italy participating in a five-week, intensive workshop at The Centre for Opera in Suloma Italy (COSI). In this its inaugural year, COSI brought together opera performers and internationally renowned opera faculty to workshop and perform Le Nozze di Figaro, in which Shelley landed the important role of Marcellina. This program gave her a chance to focus on her voice and acting by working with top experts such as Darryl Edwards (Head of Voice Studies at University of Toronto), Martin Isepp (internationally renowned Mozart expert) and Wendy Nielsen (Operatic Soprano). She describes these five weeks as having helped to move her forward artistically and helped er to see a clearer vision of her future in opera – and it’s an exciting one!
Memories of MUN Music: Some of Shelley’s favorite memories of her time as an undergrad include her education internship time in Harlow, England and singing in the Chamber Choir, “I remember singing the solo in "The Morning Dew" with the Chamber Choir, an arrangement by Dr DF Cook with him conducting. Before the performance, he told me that he knew I would sing the solo like no one before. Well... let's just say, it seems I do extremely well when 'praise' is involved!”
“I have always attributed my time at Memorial for being instrumental in helping me be the musician that I am today. As an undergrad, every aspect of music making was all very foreign. The faculty were helpful and always encouraging. Now I look back on the new, first year students today at the School of Music and remember when I was a first year. I didn't have much in the way of piano proficiency and theory skills, but I worked hard and had many late nights in the practice rooms. I know the frustrations that young musicians can be faced with and that they can overcome. Memorial has given me the necessary skills and the confidence to be an active member in today's competitive music scene.”