Study Italian language & opera!

$895 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 18 people in 17 months


My name is Shauna L. Howard and I am a classically trained soprano.  I am the owner of Fierce Stitch and have served as a proud art and small business advocate. Recently, I have been accepted to study Italian language and opera in Tuscany!.  My dream has always been to complete my music studies in classical voice, so this program will give me the opportunity to do so! I'm stepping out on faith and asking my friends, family, community, and the universe to support the arts by supporting my classical voice training and education in Italy!

 Aria: "Ich will dir mein Herze schenken" from J.S. Bach's St. Matthew's "Passion" - Philadelphia, PA  (2011) 


My artist career endeavors have always been in both sacred and secular classical & contemporary music.  I grew up singing pop, gospel, R&B, and jazz in my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; however, my introduction to classical music was as in 2004 as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with conductor Lucas Richman. In 2006, I was a chorister with the Pittsburgh Festival Opera ’s production of "Carmen Jones".  I graduated with an associate’s degree in music (with honors) from the Community College of Allegheny County where I studied with dramatic soprano Demareus Cooper. Simultaneously, I was an adjunct voice instructor at the same school where I was earning a degree: I taught beginner’s voice privately and at the college while teaching music appreciation at various senior care facilities.  I continued my studies in classical voice and opera in the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University but couldn’t complete my degree due to financial aid setbacks. I studied voice with sopranos Dr. Lorie Gratis & Sheryl Woods and mezzo-soprano Florence Quivar. In 2011, I was a full scholarship recipient to the Germantown Institute for Vocal Arts where I also studied with Cailin Manson, Elizabeth Manus, and Eleanor Macchia.

Since then, I have worked as a soprano section leader for St. Luke’s Church and Christ Church of Philadelphia.  I have sung leading and supporting roles in operas and oratorios such as W.A. Mozart’s "Requiem in D Major", Francis Poulenc’s "Gloria", Gabriel Faure’s "Requiem in D Minor", Camille Saint-Saens’ "Oratorio de Noël", Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme", Georges Bizet’s "Carmen", and more. I've worked as a background singer for Josh Groban on two tours and have recorded background vocals with Dr. Louis Anthony deLise for recording artist William DeVaughn, as well as working as a freelance singer with production companies for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and corporate events.

Oratorio Aria: "Pie Jesu" from Gabriel Faure's "Requiem in D Minor" - Philadelphia, PA (2014)

In the winter of 2016, I was hired to sing in Europe as a soprano chorister with the Golden Voices of Gospel. In two months, we performed 43 shows for sold-out audiences in cathedrals and performance halls throughout Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Luxembourg (the above photo was taken in front of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s museum in Salzburg, Austria).  Our group also performed with European recording artists such as Helmut Lotti, Nana MouskouriHelene Fischer, and more. This tour allowed me to reconnect with my German family while exploring opportunities to continue my training in Europe, so I'm very excited for this opportunity!

Solo: "I Love The Lord" w/ the Golden Voices of Gospel in Burgdorf, Switzerland (2016)


Sessione Senese per la Musica is a summer study abroad music performance training festival that is centered in Siena, Italy in cooperation with the Ministry of Advanced Education of Siena, University of Siena, and American universities & colleges. SSMA provides opportunities to perform vocal and instrumental music in formal and informal concert settings in various towns throughout Tuscany. Concerts are prepared with renowned Italian and American faculty artists who work to achieve the highest levels of artistry, musicality, diction, stage presence, and dramatic intent. The chamber orchestra, comprised of students from around the world sitting amongst native Italians, work closely with soloists to achieve a rewarding collaboration. 

Being invited to tour Europe as a singer gave me the courage to push my insecurities and failures aside and dream bigger.  When I was there, I worked alongside American vocalists that motivated me to unapologetically chase my musical dreams.  They had managed to carve out careers in Germany, France, and Switzerland in ways that I've only fantasized about in the US.  I've had dreams of singing in Germany and living in Italy for as long as I can remember, so when I found out about this opportunity, I pressed "send", submitted my credentials, and WAS ACCEPTED!   I’m truly honored that I’ve been given this opportunity to study opera in Italy (I can't tell you how many things I've been afraid to audition or apply for all because I felt like I wasn't qualified for it). I will study Italian language and classical music with soprano Mariastella Di Lorenzo, mezzo-soprano Laura Polverelli, chorus master Paolo Gragnoli, and music director Joseph Del Principe!


Being accepted into this prestigious summer program could mean wonders for my education and career.  For as much as I have enjoyed mentoring artists and entrepreneurs, I NEED to put the focus back on my musical gifts & talents.  Your donation would help defray the cost of my expenses, including but not limited to travel, insurance, lodging, audition fees, travel/education visas, food, and other expenses.  I am very proud of my diverse musical background - it's because of my classical music training that I've been able to sustain an authentic training in both sacred and secular classical and contemporary music. Please consider sharing and contributing to my fund so that I can receive the training I need for my career!

Thank you so much for reading, sharing, and supporting my dream.  Let's support the arts by supporting artists! 

With gratitude,

- Shauna

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Hi everyone!

I'm about 8 weeks away from my trip to Italy and time has flown by since I introduced this fundraiser. To everyone who has contributed to my campaign, thank you so much! Thank you for supporting live music, thank you for supporting music education, and supporting my education as a musician. For those who have not had an opportunity to contribute, this is a great opportunity to do so! I still need your assistance: you're not only investing in my dream, but you're investing in music education, arts, and American culture as a whole.

I've selected a number of arias and art songs that I would like to study (again). I've been in love with the aria "Amarilli mia bella" by Guilio Caccini since my introduction to classical music, so I look forward to being coached (I've attached a video).

Thank you again for your support, love, and friendship.

With gratitude,
Shauna L. Howard
Cecilia Bartoli: "Amarilli mia bella"
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My heart is so full! Thank you so much for your #donations and your support!
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Wow - we're off to a great start! Thank you for supporting my opera training by donating!
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$895 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 18 people in 17 months
Created March 25, 2017
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Tim Majors
14 months ago

Congratulations Shauna! What a wonderful and amazing opportunity. Enjoy every moment.

Janie bingham
14 months ago

Good Luck Shauna. You deserve this!!! and we miss you in Philadelphia Janie & George

Sharon Cooper
15 months ago

I hope You get the funding you need to go. Here's my small contribution.

15 months ago
Corbin Abernathy
16 months ago

You'll have a wonderful experience. Make it happen!

16 months ago
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