Picture and essay excerpts from past year graduates
Prime Voci Graduates 2012
Katie Bent:Joined in 1996 - attending Pomona College
"However much I love camp, I know that SGC has most shaped me not through special events like camp, concerts or
tour, but through weekly rehearsals. … having risen through the ranks, where rehearsal time increased at a
slightly greater rate than my attention span, I had to learn to focus even when I felt dead on my feet. I had
to learn to drop the excuses and sing as best I could, because the choir could never wait for me to be in the
perfect frame of mind to sing. I had to use the time we had, even if it wasn't the best time for me. That ability
to draw from energy I never knew I possessed has helped me in other areas of study as well, and it has served me
particularly well in performances with the myriad other musical groups to which I belong. SGC has trained me to
act like a professional musician even if I may never become one"
Sheila Houlahan: Joined in 1998 - attending the Conservatory of Music at Webster University
"Besides the extensive training, I'm really grateful for the friends I made at SGC. Choir friends are different
from school friends. I believe that there is some freaky psychological bond that forms between choristers that
isn't there necessarily in other friendships. We have to get along and understand each other in order to produce
a unified sound. Because participating in the act of singing means you really have to put yourself out there
artistically, I'm comfortable with really being myself around choir girls since they've already seen a part of me
through the music that most other people don't see. Some of my favorite choir memories are from choir camp, where
choristers form deeper bonds from being in close proximity to each other for a long time."
Veronica Koo: Joined in 1998 - attending Santa Clara University
"Seattle Girls' Choir is known to make world-class music. Being part of a choir known with this status is
something that I will always cherish. To make the beautiful music we produce, it is necessary to be very
hardworking and disciplinary on ourselves. In order for us to do so, we must let go of all our outside baggage
from school and our families and stay in the moment. Dr. Wright reminds Prime Voci this often…"
Andrea Nychay: Joined in 1999 - attending the University of Montana
"I can still remember my audition when I was in 2nd grade. It was terrifying singing in front of another person.
By the time I auditioned for Prime Voci, I was able to sing in front of a whole room full of people. This
confidence hasn't just helped in choir. I have been able to enjoy other activities such as debate and I can speak
up in class because of my confidence in myself."
Prime Voci Graduates 2007
Hilary Johnson: Joined in 1996 - Entering USC Thorton School of Music - Vocal Jazz Studies
I've acquired the understanding of self-discipline. Internal motivation cultivated during my experience in SGC has manifested
itself in all other aspects of my life. The individual accountability the Seattle Girls’ Choir preaches has expressed
itself in my academic life, relationships and activity in music. While the expectations to meet demands as an individual and a
choral group is high, higher yet, however is the expectation that these aspirations will not only be met, but will be revised
upward and even be exceeded. My deep love of jazz has combined with my choral experience to form the new concept that I, alone,
was capable of creating music. The personal experiences and emotions I’ve had were given meaning in this vocal
expression. By expressing them, I was forced to recognize them and examine parts of myself."
Melody Hirsch: Joined in 1997 - Entering Long Island University/Global College in Costa Rica>
"The Summer of Choir, our tour of Germany and France, and the recording of Mosaic were the highlights of my life in choir.
Where else could I get the opportunity to sing over Bach's Tomb and travel in a wonderful group of girls whom I can't imagine
ever losing contact with. The summer was both exhausting and rewarding. Intensive rehearsals in the heat were paid off by a
wonderful tour and a CD that reaches SGC standards. These enriched experiences were a great way to start my last year in
choir."";… For Dr Wright who has truly put his heart and soul into this program, we should all be so blessed to inspire
as many people, and accomplish half as much as he has"
Holly Ainslie: Joined in 1998 - To begin an apprenticeship with harpsichord builder Jack Peters
One of the greatest experiences of my life was the tour to Germany in 2006. Singing in huge cathedrals with amazing acoustics
was unlike anything I had ever done before. The sightseeing was fun, but interacting with the people of Germany was incredible.
Seeing the excitement that we brought to the people of Armsheim was something I will never forget.
Lydia Avery: Joined in 2003 - Entering Bellevue Community College
"…It was the encouragement from fellow choristers and mentors that made realize that I should never give up. So what?
--- if I am not a music theory prodigy. So what? -- if I am not the perfect singer. Not being perfect, does not mean that I
will not keep trying to be so. I am thankful for being a part of the Seattle Girls Choir. I cannot really picture myself if I
had not joined. I would have never grown into the person I am today"
Elise Baldwin: Joined in 2005 - Entering the University of Washington
"Through the past two years I've learned that I truly enjoy singing and all other aspects of music. Unlike my earlier choir
experiences, the music Seattle Girls’ Choir performs is challenging, interesting and demanding which makes performing all
the more rewarding and satisfying – especially if we perform well. I am now sure that I will continue singing and
performing musically for as long as I can as well as continuing to look for groups and songs that challenge me."
Prime Voci Graduates 2006
Ekaterina Kalfov: Joined SGC in 1997, entering Cornish College of Arts
"Each new song, each new girl, each concert or tour has been a learning and life event. When all of these
elements were combined in front of an audience, the reward was their appreciation, acknowledgement and
applause. The real reward, however, is the internal one where I have been one voice amongst many and that
I was part of the acknowledgement to the team of girls and the director that made that successful concert"
Kate Macfarlane: Joined SGC in 1998, entering Middlebury College, (Vermont)
"....because choir is so much more than just singing, or even just music. When I think over my years in
choir, I remember much more than the time that I've spent practicing my intervals, memorizing lyrics in
Estonian, Welsh, and German, and learning the modes. How could I forget flying kites with my 'little
sister' at choir camp, singing for the Patriarch of Romania, or laughing myself sick doing Hungarian
water aerobics with friends I've known since I was ten?
Ellen Tatarsky: Joined SGC in 1997, entering Scripps College in Claremont CA
I don't think there are many things I can say have truly shaped my life, but choir is without question
one of them. I'm not necessarily going to be an English major just because I love reading, and I'm not
likely to be a professional musician even though I've spent the last nine years of my life singing with
this choir. I do know, however, that whatever I become, the music and the lessons I've learned in making
that music, will always be a part of my life."
Parvaneh Michelle Angus: Joined SGC in 1994, entering Brandeis University
What many people don’t realize is these same principles of letting the self go and forgetting the
ego, enjoying the moment instead of thinking about what might happen in the future, and being unafraid to
make mistakes affect all aspects of life. I feel that I have become a much more balanced person because
Veronica Davila: Joined SGC in 1994, entering University of Redlands Conservatory
"The Seattle Girls' Choir has helped to make me into the person I am today. For the last 11 years, I
have gladly dedicated a large part of my time and effort to this program, and, in return, it has given
me many invaluable skills and experiences."
Danni Hughes: Joined SGC in 1996, entering Evergreen State College
"When I first stepped into the Seattle Girls' Choir building, I was a timid thirteen-year-old who would
not make eye contact with adults and barely spoke above a whisper. I soon learned that for a choir to be
successful, every girl must be a leader. As Dr. Wright often reminded us, 'a group can only be as strong
as its weakest member' I was forced to rise above my insecurities and gain the confidence I needed to
survive in the choir"
Katherine McNaughton Parent ; Joined SGC in 2000, entering St. Olaf College
"One of the greatest things that SGC has taught me is that to create art, one has to give oneself up.
Unless music or writing or painting or any other creative activity is given as an offering of the heart,
it can have no great power or beauty."