Meet the St. James Choir
We see and hear the St. James Choir each week, and we might know the faces. With this Grapevine issue we continue to introduce the members of the choir!
- SAM CRAIG- Hi! I’m Sam Craig. I’m new to St. James Parish, having just graduated in June from the University of Oregon, Clark Honors College. Although born in Alexandria, Virginia, I’ve spent most of my life in Oregon. The Pacific Northwest was a beautiful place to grow up. As an Eagle Scout, I fondly remember more than 150+ nights camping: from sunrise summits of Mt. St.Helens, to sleeping in snow caves on Mt. Hood, to “polar plunges” in the freezing Pacific Ocean. Oregon is also where I discovered my love for science and medicine. Since 2017, I’ve followed this passion by conducting research in surgical oncology, diagnostic radiology, and developmental biology. Through research, I’ve been able to contribute to a greater understanding of diseases such as breast and pancreatic cancers and spine disorders such as scoliosis. My passion, though, is to learn how to directly apply the findings of human research to heal human beings. This is the work of medicine, and the work I want to perform as a physician. Since graduating, I’ve been working at Wilmington Ear Nose and Throat Associates as a full-time clinical scribe, and volunteering at the Good Shepherd Center Medical Clinic, altogether building experience for when I start medical school in the future. If you want to talk about choir, nature, weird (but cool) biology facts, or grab a cup of coffee, please don't hesitate to reach out!
- TANYA HANNO - Music and singing has been an integral part of my life and has carried me through every season and every decade. I grew up singing at Paul’s Episcopal church in Akron Ohio. From there. I went on to sing in my college choir and performed in a small chamber ensemble. Once I completed my education obtaining a Master’s & Doctorate in Physical Therapy, I began working here at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. I sought out community choirs to fulfill my desire to sing. Since living in Wilmington, I have sung in the Wilmington Choral Society, Carolina Vocal Arts, and Cape Fear Chorale. In 2015, my passion for singing and love for opera was rekindled when I attended Opera Wilmington’s performance of Franz Lehar’s opera “The Merry Widow,” I was inspired to pursue voice lessons and a dream of singing in a local opera and sing as a soloist in choir performances. Once I started taking voice lessons with Dr. Nancy King, I found myself wanting and needing to learn so much more about music, theory, composers and music history. I decided to go back to school to pursue a Bachelors of Arts with a focus on classical voice performance. So, while continuing to work full-time as a Physical Therapist at the hospital, I took on the challenge of pursuing my music degree. In December, 2021, I received my degree in music. This has opened up many doors and opportunities for me to pursue singing as a soloist, perform in ensembles of local opera and continue to sing in local community choirs. I began studying voice with Sara Westermark a few months ago, and she encouraged me to consider joining her at St James to sing and to worship with the choir. This has been one of the best decisions I ever made – from the very moment I stepped into the choir rehearsal room, I have felt welcomed and supported by the entire choir family. It is a real joy and privilege to be able to sing in this choir and share messages of hope and faith through my voice and through song. Sometimes the lyrics/text in the music reveals profound messages to my heart and soul that I otherwise might have missed in context of a passage that is read. Another reason I really enjoy this choir is the many wonderful people I have met and gotten to know. This choir is a family, we sing together, we serve together and we genuinely care about, support and uplift each other. In my short time that I have been singing in this choir, I have witnessed an incredible group of gifted and talented singers and musicians perform beautiful music each and every week. I am so grateful for the opportunity to sing with this choir and lead with song and worship with our collective voices under the capable leadership, direction, and humor of our musical director and organist, John Sullivan.
- PAULA SHIELDS - Every day I read a Psalm. Within the Psalms is a repeated exhortation to SING, to sing praises to God and perhaps accompany that singing with music- harp, lute, lyre, trumpet (as organs weren’t invented yet.) King David understood the pure joy of singing and praising God and playing an instrument solely for God’s glory. Though I cannot play an instrument, I can sing and I can definitely praise. Being in choir gives me the opportunity to express that joy and participate fully in worship, praise and adoration. I love the work of learning a piece of music. I treasure the cooperative energy present as we musicians strive toward that corporate goal of praising God with our voices and instruments. I am grateful for the generosity the choir members and John who accept my untrained voice and allow me to be a part of this choir. Thank you, new friends! I came to this group because of an introduction to John Sullivan after attending a Faith at Five event, outside at Mt. Lebanon Chapel. I honestly thought it was going to be a jazz concert! That was the first time we were allowed to sing together since the arrival of COVID. My thanks to everyone at St. James who made it possible for us to participate in worship throughout the lockdown. My joy is singing with this choir, “Soli Deo Gloria” to God alone glory.
- GRAHAM W - Graham W., is a sophomore at Hoggard High School who is passionate about science, French, and music. He participates in Hoggard’s cross country and sailing teams. He began singing in the St. James Youth choir at age 10. He is also a founding member of the Boy’s Choir of Wilmington in which he sang for two years. At age 12 Hans began singing treble (boy soprano) with the St. James Adult Choir alongside his mother Sara, and his non-binary sibling Alex. During Covid he hit a huge growth spurt growing taller (now 6’4”) and changing his voice. During the voice change he has sung alto, and tenor parts. Currently Hans sings baritone in the St. James Adult Choir. Other musical experiences include studying piano for four years with Martha Hayes, singing in the musical “Oliver” with Thalian Association, singing for two years the soprano choral parts of Messiah Choruses with St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church, and placing third in the youth division at the state level of The National Association of Teachers of Singing Annual Auditions. This year Hans is looking forward to competing in the National Association of Teachers of Singing auditions held on February 18th with three Art Song selections.
Tags: Music & Choirs / Announcements