Local Voice Student at Academy Art Museum Performs at Carnegie Hall

Mezzo-soprano Suzanne S. Chadwick of Harford County has been teaching voice lessons at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD, for 20 years. This spring, Suzanne had the special privilege of having one of her vocal students achieve two important milestones. The milestones were particularly significant because the student has only been taking vocal lessons for two years.

Hannah Zerai of Easton, a 14-year old vocal student of Chadwick, sang at the American High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in NYC. She auditioned with over 6,000 high school students from the United States, Canada and from other countries for the choir, band and orchestra and was one of 265 students selected for the choir. She also competed at the District Auditions for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (MD-DC District) where she took first place in the category “Beginning High School — Women.” Since then Hannah has been accepted to the Peabody Institute’s Classical Singers Workshop and Summer Vocal Academy, part of the Peabody Preparatory program. She also received this year’s Artistic Director’s Award from Wes Lockfaw, director of the Easton Choral Arts Society.

Suzanne says of Hannah’s talent, “There are people that come to me with obvious talent, but with Hannah, through her own hard work, we uncovered a jewel underneath. She came to me with a small, soft voice, having never sung before, and now at age 14, her voice is at the level of a student auditioning for college.”

Hannah comments that she sought out voice lessons after participating in the Avalon Theatre’s Summer Fame Theatre Camp at age 11. She liked singing with her friends but wanted to get better. Hannah has been astonished at her own progress, noting, “Miss Suzanne’s instruction is very individualized. Everything she has told me to do to improve my singing has worked. I have had trouble with allergies and congestion and she taught me techniques to sing past it and to get my voice in the right spot, which makes my voice fuller, richer and stronger.”

Hannah, who sang in “The Santa Diaries” at the Avalon Theatre where a special part was written in to include her voice, also sings with the Easton Choral Arts Society and is a member of Easton’s Christ Church Choral Scholars.

Chadwick says individuals study with her for varying reasons: professional aspirations, personal achievements, personal growth, and stress therapy. She adds, “One of the best parts of my job is helping people like Hannah discover their voices, while gaining a personal connection with them. While voice lessons can help them with their singing, it can also help other parts of their lives.”

Hannah wants to pursue musical theatre and recently has dabbled in songwriting, combining her interests in writing and music. She states, “I love songwriting because you have the opportunity to say something. If it’s a song no one has heard before, they’re more likely to really pay attention to the lyrics. I think people are much more willing to listen to what you have to say when it’s through music. I’d really like to be able to affect people in some way, even if it’s just brightening their day for a few minutes.”

For further information about the Academy Art Museum’s classes, call 410-822-2787 or visit academyartmuseum.org.