Elizabeth Holmes ’21 chose Shenandoah to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and full-time university teaching position. “I chose Shenandoah because of its strong graduate Vocal Pedagogy program and its inclusion of both classical and CCM singing styles in its curriculum,” said Holmes.
“I came to Shenandoah to earn the piece of paper that would allow me to teach at the collegiate level, but my experience at Shenandoah prepared me in so many more ways than just that,” said Holmes. Shenandoah’s graduate program offered CCM training in both singing and teaching, which was important to her. In addition, Holmes said that “the voice faculty at Shenandoah are leaders in the field, but also deeply invested in student learning.”
Some of Holmes’ fondest memories while at Shenandoah include rehearsing and performing with her collaborative partner Tianbo Guo, attending the Musical Theatre Styles classes taught by Auxiliary Adjunct Associate Professor of Voice Edrie Means Weekly ’84, M.M., and voice lessons with Professor of Voice Byron Jones, D.M.A. She taught for four years at Shenandoah and loved being a mentor to her students.
Also while she was at Shenandoah, Holmes lead a ShenCo Student Performance Week project that was a concert performance of excerpts from both the musical and opera based on the novel “Little Women,” was a finalist in the Student Soloist Competition in 2019-2020 and was a student ambassador for graduate student orientations from 2019-2021
Holmes teaches applied voice and other voice related courses, including Vocal Pedagogy, Diction and Opera Workshop at Coker University in Hartsville, South Carolina. In Fall 2022, she hosted Professor of Voice Byron Jones, D.M.A, who gave a lecture on Harry T. Burleigh. She also serves as the Director of the Coker Community Music Program.
The most rewarding part of Holmes’ career is being able to mentor young singers and witness their personal growth and transformation in their college career.
Holmes’ advice to current and future students is: “First and foremost, I urge music students to keep money in mind when they are making decisions about and during school. While making a career of music is rewarding and a decision I could never regret, I do wish I had been advised earlier to avoid taking out large loans. Most musicians do not earn the kind of income to make repayment of such loans easy, and many excellent opportunities do not offer much (or sometimes any) pay. You’ll want the financial flexibility to be able to say yes to those opportunities, if you choose. In line with that, every musician should learn about finances, both personal and business-related. I wish I had known what I learned in Shenandoah’s Business of Studio Teaching class sooner!”