Chorus Member Profile
Sarah Grogan Grows from Student to Teacher in Cincinnati’s Choral Community
If there is such a thing as a lifetime performer in the May Festival, Sarah Grogan might be one. This year marks her 5th anniversary with the May Festival Chorus, but she has been singing with the May Festival since she was in 7th grade as a member of the Cincinnati Youth Chorus. For Sarah, performing at Music Hall as a part of an enormous ensemble of talented artists, producing a force of sound in a gorgeous venue, got her hooked on choral singing.
In fact, there has only been one year since then that Sarah has not been involved in a choral group. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, she was aching to get back to it, and likens her return to rehearsal as “putting aloe on a sunburn I didn’t know I had.”
A native of Finneytown, Sarah attended University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and earned her degree in Music Education. After teaching in Las Vegas for a couple years, she moved to Miami to help build the Miami Choral Academy – an initiative of the Seraphic Fire choral ensemble using El Sistema curriculum to establish choral programs in community schools with no programs of their own. Sarah’s soft spot for afterschool choir was solidified, and when she received a call to come home to help build the Cincinnati Choral Academy everything came together. She would have the opportunity to work with her hometown choruses at Cincinnati Youth Choir, May Festival, and the Vocal Arts Ensemble to provide choral education and performance opportunities for children who would otherwise not have that opportunity.
Sarah’s favorite Cincinnati Choral Academy moments are when each young singer first arrives onstage and looks out at the audience, and it suddenly clicks. They realize they are an artist; they are an essential part of a team; and everyone is counting on them. “For many,” Sarah laughs, “it’s the first time they truly concentrate on their director!”
She knows from her days in Cincinnati Youth Choir that their favorite moments will probably be in the Green Room awaiting their entrance, or watching others from the wings, or the friends they make during down times at rehearsal. But, she also knows that each child has learned about the magic of performance and the incredible gratification of applause for a job well done.
Though Sarah’s hard work, the Cincinnati Choral Academy has provided these empowering experiences to over 400 school children from nine Cincinnati Public Schools since January 2016.
Cincinnati Youth Choir Executive Director Lauren Hess says: “The Cincinnati Youth Choir family is so grateful for Sarah’s commitment to the Choral Academy program. She helped grow the program from two to six schools in just three years! We are so thankful for her hard work and passion for the young singers in CPS schools.”
This fall, Sarah looks forward to marrying her fiancé Mike Evans at the Evangelical Community Church in Mt. Healthy, where she also serves as Director of Children’s Music. It’s not surprising that Mike chose the steps of Music Hall to pop the question!
Join us in congratulating Sarah on her 5th anniversary with the May Festival Chorus, a job well done with Cincinnati Choral Academy, and her impending nuptials!
Visit our website to learn more about Cincinnati Choral Academy.
Click here to listen to Sarah’s favorite choral pieces on the May Festival’s Spotify channel.