Now she brings that beauty to her own students. Since 2002, Anne has been a key figure in Oakcrest’s arts program—from building its music program from scratch to directing multiple choirs to handling the music in all the school’s theatrical productions.
After pleading with her parents for several years, Anne started playing piano when she was twelve thanks to the free lessons she received from her aunt.
When it came time for college, she applied to just one music program at SUNY in Fredonia, NY (her hometown), telling herself that if she wasn’t accepted she’d pursue languages and maybe become a translator instead. Happily, she passed her audition and graduated from SUNY with a Bachelor of Arts in Music History and Piano and a Master of Music in Piano Performance. She went on to study choral conducting at Eastman, Westminster Choir College and Shenandoah University. She has also studied with renowned conductor Simon Carrington at the Musica Sacra workshop in Sarteano, Italy.
Oakcrest hadn’t been on Anne’s radar until one day in 2002 when she saw an ad for an open teaching position. She applied, got the job, and promptly set about not only teaching classes, but also building Oakcrest’s entire music program, which up to that point didn’t really exist. While this might seem like a daunting task, Anne saw the opportunity as an exciting challenge.
Today, Oakcrest boasts a top-notch Concert Chorus that has performed with the McLean Orchestra and at the Papal Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Anne also makes note of their recent full-length concert at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington, VA. At this concert, students premiered a composition written by a composer, Arnold Friedman, who they had met while in Italy. He was so moved by the choir’s singing of Kodaly’s Ave Maria that he decided to write a piece for them—a setting of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s Pied Beauty. “It was a true honor to perform his magnificent work,” says Anne. “The students worked hard and were proud of their accomplishment – a well-deserved standing ovation.”
Besides Concert Chorus, Anne directs Oakcrest’s Middle School Choirs and the Junior and Senior Liturgical Choirs. In her Music Appreciation class, she particularly loves sharing with her students why classical music is so great.
Anne is also in charge of the music for all Oakcrest’s musical productions. Seeing her students share their passion for theatre and the arts on stage and rise to challenges is particularly fulfilling for her. She remembers the satisfaction of seeing one particular student who in Middle School was in tears at the thought of singing in front of anyone, including Anne, later become the lead in the Upper School show.
Anne continues to pursue her interests outside of school as well. She started a Schola Cantorum at St. Theresa parish in Ashburn, which sings sacred polyphony and homophonic choral works such as Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. She enjoys teaching ESL one evening a week through Catholic Charities. When asked what music she could listen to on repeat all day, Anne picks Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata no. 21, Bb major, D.960, describing it as a sublime work that encompasses the full range of human emotion.
Anne feels deeply convicted about the importance of musical education for all young people. “Students need to have an understanding of how music can shape themselves and society and be conscious consumers—not blind to its effects,” she says. “I tell the students that they can impact culture not just as composers or performers but by what they choose to listen to. And ultimately, music can add beauty to their lives, and with beauty, one always has a sense of hope.”
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