Northwest Catholic High School will be partnering with the Hartt School Community Division.
Submitted by Maureen Scudder, Northwest Catholic
Northwest Catholic alumna and Connecticut Children’s Chorus Director Meredith Neumann recently spent two days at the West Hartford high school helping launch a new NWC-Hartt partnership.
Spearheaded by NWC Director of Choral Studies Daniel Avery, also an NWC alumnus, this high school-university alliance will bear many musical fruits, starting with this week’s guest appearance by Neumann.
Neumann presented to Avery’s choral classes at Northwest Catholic, sharing information about the award-winning Connecticut Children’s Chorus (CCC) and, specifically, the two choirs she personally conducts, one for students in grades 7-9 and a second for students in grades 9-12. Neumann also held onsite auditions for all interested students.
The Connecticut Children’s Chorus is an integral component of the renowned Hartt School Community Division of the University of Hartford. This audition-only choral program has grown from one choir to seven since its inception in 1991. Today the seven choirs are comprised of approximately 220 singers in grades 1 through 12, and Neumann oversees it all.
After graduating from Northwest Catholic in 2002, Neumann went on to study music education at Hartt. After completing her undergraduate degree, she taught in various Connecticut schools, including Timothy Edwards Middle School in South Windsor and both Sedgwick Middle School and Renbrook in West Hartford.
During her teaching tenure, Neumann developed vocal nodes, not uncommon for choral instructors and professional vocalists. She required surgery and rest, which prompted her to take leave and pursue her Master of Arts in music education at the University of Hartford. Her reconnection with Hartt led her to a conductorship of CCC’s Concert Choir. From there Neumann rose from maestro of one chorus to interim artistic director and today director of the entire program. She continues to conduct two of the choirs as well as perform administrative duties for the organization.
Neumann also directs the choir at Saint Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford.
Neumann has music in her blood. While growing up in Berlin, CT, her father was an organist at a local Lutheran church and the choral teacher at New Britain High School. She also has the church in her history, as her mother had spent time studying in the convent.
When asked how she made her way from Berlin to Northwest Catholic a decade ago, Neumann answered with confidence: “Northwest Catholic cares about academics.” She continued, “Education is obviously number one here.” Neumann was also drawn to the school’s diverse community and “normal school” feeling. Lastly, she appreciated the personal attention that is provided at NWC.
Neumann knew early on she wanted to be a teacher. She was passionate about helping others and before she even finished high school, she felt the calling to teach. Today Neumann’s favorite pastime is conducting. She admitted she would do it all day if she could. Clearly she loves to instruct, to lead, and to connect with her students. Good-natured, full of verve, and honest to the nth degree, it’s impossible to not find yourself at ease with Meredith Neumann.
To learn more about the Connecticut Children’s Chorus, visit http://www.hartford.edu/hcd/