Joint Honours Music & Drama, 2010

Mary-CatherineMary-Catherine Pazzano completed her first undergraduate degree in 2010; Joint Honours in Music and Drama from the University of Waterloo. "I grew up watching and loving the old MGM musicals," Mary-Catherine explains how she quickly fell in love with the music featured in them. Many of the songs from these beloved musicals are also American standards, and from there, a fine appreciation in jazz formed naturally.

Learning at Grebel has had a positive impact on Mary-Catherine. She feels the liberal arts nature of the program did not “box” her into one area of focus, but allowed her to flourish and explore her voice.

I was able to be my authentic self.

The support of both faculty and fellow students was a highlight for Mary-Catherine; the teaching style of voice instructor, Stephanie Kramer, was of particular influence. She felt the atmosphere of Grebel was one of non-competition and genuine support for one another, and this is why she truly believes that there is room for everyone in the music business. No artist is ever completely the same, and she feels this allows each artist to find their own place in the industry.  She feels it is just as important to watch someone else perform as it is to perform yourself, and this is another experience Grebel offered her.

After completing her second degree, a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto, Mary-Catherine longed to return to the Kitchener-Waterloo area.  Since moving back, she has established herself as a respected singer performing in notable venues, such as The Jazz Room in Waterloo and The Registry Theatre in Kitchener. In 2014, Mary-Catherine went New Zealand, where she taught students vocal techniques, and was able to perform. She has also begun teaching, taking on pupils in her own private studio, as well as creating the programs Jazz in the Schools, and a jazz day camp, Jazz for Adults. In 2017, Mary-Catherine plans to release her first debut album, which is going to explore the varied aspects of her voice. It will be an authentic representation of who Mary-Catherine is. These different projects display the affection Mary-Catherine has for the region, and the community.

As a first year student she feels she stressed the fine details a bit too much. Now she knows that there is not a moment when as a musician you have “arrived”.  She believes one’s artistry is ever evolving and that’s okay. While you should strive to hone your technical craft, it’s even more important to be vulnerable and show true emotion.  She encourages all those pursuing an education to be focused on the future when planning their classes, as it will help guide them towards their goals.  Mary-Catherine is an example of how with dedication to your goals, it truly is possible to have a career you love, even your dream job!


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