Chorus Spotlight: Mark and Megan Weaver
May Festival Chorus Members
Chorus Spotlight: Mark and Megan Weaver
As the only father-daughter duo in the May Festival Chorus, Mark and Megan Weaver have the opportunity to share a rare bond. Mark, an engineer by day, played trumpet throughout high school, and while he sang in church growing up, he had no formal vocal training. In 2006, a friend of his in the Chorus called him, saying they needed more men to sing Mahler’s Second Symphony. He gave the Chorus a try, and officially joined in 2007. He passed his love of singing to his daughter, Megan, who performed in the Cincinnati Children’s Choir growing up and eventually the May Festival Youth Chorus. After studying voice and music education at Miami University, it was a natural fit for her to join the Chorus after college. She’s currently a music teacher at Winton Woods. “His passion for music I think really drove me to have my passion,” said Megan.
They both cherish memories of favorite concerts (two of Mark’s favorites are Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem), but ones that they have shared together particularly stick out. “I would probably have to say the biggest landmark was the year we performed at Carnegie Hall ; it was Megan’s first year so we got to do it together. The electricity of that performance and historic nature of it made it something really neat,” said Mark.
“I had sung at Carnegie Hall the year before with my college chorus, but to do it the next year with Dad was so much more meaningful,” said Megan. “It’s interesting being in the Chorus, having grown up in the youth choruses, and being able to look back and see all that I’ve accomplished. There’s nothing like [the applause at the end of a concert], and you are so proud and happy to be finished and everyone is so grateful. It’s something that people who aren’t professionals don’t get to experience very often. It’s really special.”
Both father and daughter agree that performing with the May Festival Chorus comes with its own set of rewards and challenges. “We have a really top-notch orchestra in our city; it’s major-league caliber, and we’re volunteers. It’s like
saying ‘I like baseball, so maybe I’ll call up the Reds and after I hit a few grounders they’ll let me play with them.’ And of course that’s never going to happen, but that’s kind of like what we’re doing. To be singing at the highest level is a great opportunity,” said Mark.
“There’s something to be said for the uniqueness of what we’re able to accomplish,” said Megan. “I’m really proud of us, and I think it’s incredible to be able to perform these amazing pieces of music at such a high level so that we
can perform with such a high caliber orchestra.” The repertoire demands a lot from these singers, both in preparation time and talent. “If you look at the repertoire we go through in a normal season, May Festival alone is like a normal chorus’ program for the entire year, and we do it all in two weeks. We’re expected to come to rehearsal having already learned this challenging music—and we all have day jobs,” said Mark.
“If it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s more than a hundred percent worth the work. We work with fantastic conductors, soloists and musicians, and the payoff of performing this incredible music is well worth the effort any day of the week—even Thursday of May Festival when I’ve been in rehearsal for hours,” said Megan.
“It is demanding, and you just have to know that going in. It is a family. We’re a tight knit group,” said Mark.
Finally, what’s it like for these two performing together? “For me, music has always been something that we shared; it’s one of the strongest bonds that we have,” said Megan. “To always have him there with me is a comforting feeling, and it makes it even more exciting.”
“For me, you get to the point in your life where the greatest satisfaction you have is seeing what your kids do, and I’m very proud of Megan,” said Mark. “To sing in the May Festival Chorus is a top-notch experience and it’s neat that we’re able to be part of it together.”