Faculty Focus: Q&A with Ann Schoenecker

Monday, January 20, 2020

As a singer, Ann Schoenecker has applied her supple soprano voice to everything from opera to oratorio to musical theatre throughout the United States and Europe. Before coming to Viterbo, where she chairs the music department, Schoenecker taught at the Performing Arts Studios in Vienna, Austria, Luther College, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri.

Ann Schoenecker
Ann Schoenecker

Schoenecker is a former regional Metropolitan Opera finalist, finalist in the Jenny Lind National Competition for Sopranos, and has sung many roles with Opera Boston among other companies. Her studies took her from Luther College to the University of Missouri-Columbia, and finally to the University of Minnesota where she earned a doctoral degree in vocal performance under Lawrence Weller and Clifton Ware.

How many years have you worked at Viterbo?

I am in my 12th year at Viterbo. What we originally thought would be a short stay, has turned into a home and community where my husband and I have chosen to raise our four daughters.

Best known for teaching …

Music; vocal performance and vocal pedagogy with additional certifications in commercial voice training. Students find the joy in singing through many different styles of music, and in the past five years I have helped students “find their voice” through a variety of genres (classical, pop, rock, musical theatre, etc.). There is no greater joy for me in teaching, than guiding a student to use their voice and share their gift authentically with those around them.

What do you love most about teaching at Viterbo?

I love the sense of community at Viterbo. I have witnessed many situations where the Viterbo community has stood by faculty, students, and staff in successes and struggles. The people of Viterbo truly live the core values. It is a wonderful place to work.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by new ways of learning, teaching, and sharing with students and my colleagues. I am fortunate that the work I do with students carries through all four years. They come into my voice studio as freshmen and I see them individually twice a week every semester they study voice. For music majors, that runs the entire four years of their time at Viterbo. I am also inspired by discovery. “Be your authentic self” is the motto for my voice studio. The work of discovering “your authentic voice” inspires me daily in my work with the students. Seeing the look in their eyes when they “finally get it,” excites me and fills my bucket to continue to learn and share. 

What others say about you?

Faith Bartelt ’21: “Dr. Schoenecker is not only constantly seeking further knowledge and growth in her students and herself, but is someone who will fight for each and every individual in her studio. While she has ample amount of experience, knowledge, and connections with the professional world, she also strives to foster a creative space dedicated to pursuing the discovery of everyone’s personal authentic self. As a mom of four, it’s incredible watching the relationship at the beginning of my four years (as student and teacher) grow into a relationship with a professor I can call not only a coach but a mentor, friend and mom-away-from-home. Dr. Schoenecker has been my No. 1 cheerleader and go-to connection here on campus and has helped to encourage, shape, and form my time here. I truly wouldn’t trade her for the world.”