This month, we welcome Stephanie Chevalier to our ever growing faculty! Stephanie will be teaching voice here at CAM, drawing upon her extensive experience as a musician! We sat down with Stephanie last week and asked her to tell us more about herself. Read on to find out more!
What brings you to Charleston?
My husband and I came to Charleston a year ago. My husband is a consultant, which means we can live anywhere we want. We both picked Charleston for its sophisticated and lively art scene in a beautiful city, which is near the beaches!
What do you enjoy in Charleston?
The food! Besides that, being near the water, I enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding. I’ve also been to numerous concerts and ballets here, and sang during the Spoleto Festival. You can always get good quality artists here! In fact, I meet many of them when I perform ancient music with the Charleston Renaissance Ensemble, and we will be presenting a concert on Shakespeare’s Birthday at the Library Society on April 21!
You have sung in so many places – what are some of your fondest memories and best experiences?
I have performed with so many great musicians! When I was singing with the Washington Opera in Samson and Delilah, Domingo was the conductor, and on the closing night, he sang the lead! I’ve also sang with Denyce Graves, Jennifer Larmore, and was a singer/dancer/actor in a show with Kiri Te Kanawa!
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think that the student should set the pace for lessons. As a teacher, I can push them but only so hard. If I can challenge my students and keep them interested, they learn better especially if they don’t know they’re being challenged! Especially when they are young, students will learn concepts better while playing games. Family involvement is the most important! Music needs to be a family affair.
Do you have any interesting teaching stories?
My students know no bounds. They’ll bring a piece and they’ll learn it, and that is the most interesting thing in teaching in general – it’s limitless in what a student can accomplish. I’ve had students that I thought wouldn’t last a week but have gone on to get Doctorates in choral conducting and voice, and even become a neurosurgeon! I can’t think of a single student who stayed with me through high school and did not go into higher education. Not all of them are in the music scene now but many did stay involved, including some in conducting, and some in Broadway…
Any messages to your students?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that something is too hard! I wouldn’t have been able to sing a 4 hr opera in Russian by memory if it weren’t for the teachers that allowed me to dive in!
Sometimes you just have to dive in! Challenge yourself!
What is the role of music in your life?
Is there life without music?! (CAM notes: Stephanie is in shock at this point of the interview.)
What are some of your favorite music to listen to or to perform?
The Trout (by Schubert), and Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini. I tend to like pieces and works that are too big for my instrument, like Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. (CAM notes: Stephanie is also an accomplished pianist!) Besides piano works, I like listening to Wagner and things that I won’t ever perform. My all time favorite is Vivaldi. Also…. my favorite role that I have sung is Bradamente in Handel’s Alcina! Bradamente was a woman who pretended to be a man in the opera before revealing herself. She’s got great arias!
Any upcoming events where we can see/hear you perform?
I’ll be singing with the Charleston Renaissance Ensemble on April 21 at the Library Society! Also, I’ll be speaking at the Suzuki Association of Americas on pre-learning, kiddykeys, body movement for parents and kids age of 2-3, and preschool preparation for music