Our Alumni Spotlight of this month belongs to Sarah Nordin! Sarah graduated from Lee in 2005 and has since performed lead opera roles all over the country. We were able to connect with her and ask her a few questions about her time at Lee and after.
Q: What made you decide to come to Lee?
N: I was all set to go to Florida State and we went to visit it on our way to Missouri on a family vacation and I didn’t like it. The school was too big and had too many distractions that had nothing to do with music. It was the June before I was going to start school in the fall. Lee University was not a school I had heard of but they had a billboard along highway on 75 so I decided to check it out. Lee was so delightfully, small and seemed like a place I could focus practice in peace. I was allowed to apply despite the late date because I spoke with admissions and told them my situation. I got accepted right away to the school of music and as I was walking out of the building I started talking to Dr Holsinger. Even though I planned to major in voice I am also a horn player and he has always been someone I admired. After talking with him I decided then and there to come. At the very least the music theory and composition classes would be both challenging and creative and that was important to me. When I first arrived it was also Dr Holsinger who in my audition for the Wind Ensemble told me to join the opera workshop and suggested I go meet Tony Deaton. Tony ended up being my voice teach and if it weren’t for him I would not be the professional opera singer I am today. I truly feel God sent me to Lee and helped me meet all the right people in a time when I was searching for the right path to take and a little lost.
Q: What did you learn from Lee that has stayed with you?
N: Lee is where I learned some basic skills that I still use now at my job everyday. Italian, French and German languages and the discipline of self-motivated daily practice. Most importantly, Lee University gave me the opportunity to perform my first 5 opera roles with orchestra. This was very valuable to me because when I left undergrad I already had 5 roles on my resume. Many students have to pay for programs in the Summer to get that opportunity and I was able to spend my whole year working on my role with my teacher, Mr Deaton, and perform for the first time in a comfortable, loving and supportive environment. Also while I was at Lee one of my professors, Dr Burns, cast me in a professional musical that he and his wife wrote. This gave me the invaluable opportunity to learn how to creat a role with a composer and work in a professional environment along with a professor who was very patient and supportive.
Q: How have you used your education to get to where you are now?
N: I could not be the professional opera singer I am today with out my education. When I began at Lee I had never sung in an opera before and I had only seen one. Now I have performed at major opera companies all over the world including the Metropolitan Opera.
Q: What advice would you give current Lee students?
N: Spend your time in prayer and thinking hard about what it is you want to do. Then once you figure it out create a timeline and achievable goals to help you accomplish your dreams. Lee has all of the resources you need to accomplish just about anything. What you need is the ambition and self-motivation to take advantage of the resources you have access to.
We are so blessed to have Sarah Nordin as a Lee alum. We can’t wait to see what else you will accomplish!
To learn more about Sarah, visit her website below!