WCC education leaves singer ‘confident’ for Kimmel solo

By Samantha Brandbergh

As the semester is drawing to a close and students plan their vacations, Westminster Choir College (WCC) junior voice performance major Jennifer Kreider is preparing for her May 11 performance at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

The Kimmel Center holds 650 people, and although Kreider has performed for bigger crowds in Westminster’s choral ensembles, this will be the biggest crowd she has performed for as a solo artist.

Kreider is one of six of the Clifton Foundation’s 2016 Emerging Artists winners, the other five being from other institutions. In addition to the performance, she was also awarded a $5,000 scholarship.

She also won first place in The National Competition for Voice through The Artist Series of Sarasota in Florida on April 16, taking home $3,500.

As the daughter of two opera singers — WCC alumna Rebecca Abram Kreider, ’83, and opera singer Paul Kreider — Jennifer Kreider was almost literally a natural-born performer.

“I don’t really remember a time without music in my life,” she said. “I started piano lessons at 5 years old, and I always loved to sing. I joined choir in middle school, and ever since then, I knew I had to pursue a career in music.”

She has put her skills to good use by starring in multiple Westminster productions, including Cendrillon, tutoring piano and music theory on campus, and participating in the CoOPERAtive Program. Considering everything she has accomplished in her college career so far, Kreider seemed like the perfect choice for an Emerging Artists Award.

In order to be considered for the prize, she was nominated by faculty members at Westminster. She was notified by Dean Marshall Onofrio to send the Clifton Foundation a résumé, a headshot and 15 minutes of musical recordings, which included “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” by Franz Schubert, the piece she will be singing at the Kimmel Center.

“At first, when I found out I was nominated for this, I felt honored that the faculty thought highly enough of me to receive such an incredible award and opportunity,” Kreider said.

The performance will not only help Kreider excel musically, but the money she received will allow her to travel abroad and study at the Schubert Institute in Vienna, Austria, this summer.

She attributes what she has learned at Westminster to Professor Laura Brooks Rice, her voice teacher.

“[Rice] has taught me how to effectively practice and prepare for performances, and it is because of my work with her over the past three years that I can go into the performance at the Kimmel Center confidently,” she said.

Rice is “not surprised” by the success that has come Kreider’s way.

“[Kreider] is that kind of student who is very serious about her training and practices with a focus and awareness needed to be successful,” she said. “She comes from a wonderful pair of parents, so she was already introduced to the discipline that it takes to train as a classical singer.”

Winning the Emerging Artists Award proved to be an important accomplishment not only for Kreider, but for her peers on campus, as well. The news allowed the Westminster community to unite to  provide encouragement and support to a friend and fellow performer.

“When Rider announced that I received the award, people on campus would stop to congratulate me, and I received so many encouraging messages and texts from friends,” she said. “In those moments, it made me realize how lucky I am to go to this school and to be surrounded by so many other kind, supportive and talented individuals.”

Kreider and her family are equally “ecstatic” and grateful for the opportunity and scholarship the Clifton Foundation has given her, and look forward to thanking the Clifton family through the joy of music.

“I learn something about myself as an artist every time I sing, and this performance will be no different and one that I will never forget,” she said.

 

Printed in the 4/27/16 issue. 

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