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In Her Own Voice

By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
Sadie Holloway ’24 steps into the spotlight as both a singer and a leader
The phrase “going to Nationals” often conjures thoughts of athletics and interstate sports competition. But for Sadie Holloway ’24, this extraordinary feat was all about the music, specifically singing.
 
Holloway spent four days with elite singers from all fifty states at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-National Honor Ensembles (ANHE) Conference just outside of Washington, D.C. in early November. The ANHEs represent the top performing high school musicians in the United States, and is described on their website as “a comprehensive and educational experience.” Holloway’s recent experience certainly fits that description. 
 
“It was unlike anything I have done,” Holloway says of the experience of rehearsing and performing with nearly 200 other singers under the direction of some of the most prominent and inspiring musical educators in the country. When the group belted out Wangol by Sten Källman, a popular Haitian folk song, Holloway says, “I could feel the floor shake.”

Holloway’s journey to this event began in ninth grade when she met chorus and orchestra teacher Kimberly Ryan. Although she had been “playing piano and singing casually” before Trinity, it was this connection that sparked a chain of events that included Holloway joining the Trinity Tritones a cappella group, of which she is now the musical director. “Sadie is a very self-motivated person in many areas of her life, and music is no exception,” says Ryan. “Sadie strives for excellence in music and achieves it through hard work.” 

The respect is mutual. “Ms. Ryan has been hugely helpful,” says Holloway. “She has been so supportive and knowledgeable and is always willing to work with me on songs and composition, theory, anything.” 
Being selected for Nationals was a difficult and involved process that began with an audition for district chorus. After that, the top singers in each of the state’s 11 districts compete to make it to the all-state level, which Holloway earned in both 2021 and 2022. “Being with people as passionate as I am was a transformative experience,” recalls Holloway of her first all-state experience. 

And finally came the auditions for Nationals, a prospect which Holloway admits was daunting. In addition to a required a capella song, Holloway chose Alma del corre by Antonio Caldara. “It was challenging because it was the first solo piece I learned in a different language,” she says. “I feel like it really started a new chapter for me as a musician, as I started specializing in solo classical voice.” Still, it wasn't easy. “Auditioning is terrifying and I shake every time,” she says. 

While waiting anxiously over the summer to find out if she made the cut, Holloway had the chance to attend the three-week Brevard Music Center Summer Institute in North Carolina, where she got to join workshops and private lessons with mentors like Alison Pohl, a professional opera and classical voice singer. “Prior to this, I hadn’t done much with classical voice, and she sparked an interest,” recalls Holloway.

One day at Brevard, while listening to one of her newfound favorite classical pieces — Scheherazade, op. 35: III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess — Holloway finally got the call that she had made the national ensemble. “It was such a beautiful moment,” she recalls. 

Once she arrived at the national event in Washington in early November, she was further able to soak in the wisdom and inspiration of renowned music educators, including professor of music education and choral clinician Dr. Frances Fonza. “The way she was able to gain the respect and attention of over 200 high school singers and then effectively use rehearsal time and make improvement in such limited time was incredible to watch,” says Holloway of her experience with Fonza. “It gave me a lot of inspiration to use when working with the Tritones (musical director) and the chorus.” 
 
Ryan, who was in attendance, was also moved by Dr. Fonza’s command of the group. “There was a moment in the rehearsal when Dr. Fonza was pushing them to go deeper, find something more within themselves, and they did,” Ryan recalls. “The sound they made after those motivating comments from her was so beautiful, I was in tears sitting in the audience.”
 
The sky is the limit for Holloway, who has many options open to her. “Sadie could go as far as she wants to as a musician,” says Ryan. “Her voice is a powerful instrument, and she is becoming a demanding yet kind ensemble leader through her work with the Tritones. She would be a fantastic choir director, opera singer, teacher or soloist. Whether she decides to become a professional musician or go into another career field entirely, I am confident that music will always have a large place in her life.”
 
Holloway already has professional experience directing adults, as she is the alto section leader in a local adult church choir — a rare position for a high-schooler, requiring advanced sight-reading and mature ensemble skills. 
 
Holloway is so grateful for the support she has received at Trinity, not only from Ms. Ryan but also from guitar teacher Chris Markunas ’01. Markunas overheard Holloway playing piano after school as a freshman and invited her to join his Collaborative Music Studies class, which is typically only for upperclassmen. “I learned so much being around the older musicians in that class. He has also given me so many performance opportunities,” says Holloway. “Whatever ideas I come up with, Mr. Markunas will help me execute them.”
 
In addition to leading the Tritones, Holloway also is a co-leader of the Gay/Straight Alliance and the Science Society, and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate. “I love the opportunities at Trinity to challenge yourself in ways you find interesting,” reflects Holloway.
 
“The teachers are always willing to support me and are passionate, and the students and adults are really accepting and supportive of trying new things,” says Holloway. Given her varied passions and interests, we are sure to hear more about this rising musical star before her journey as a Titan is complete, and that is truly music to our ears.
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About “Connections”

Connections is a regular online column, written from the first-person perspective of Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement:

In this space, I have the privilege of sharing stories of Trinity students, alumni, and faculty and staff who are carrying our mission beyond the boundaries of campus. Many of these stories might not make the headlines, but they will illustrate how every member of the Trinity community has a unique path to discover, and the ability to make an impact on both the Trinity community and the world beyond.

I am fortunate to have been a part of this community since my own adolescence. I have been a student, a teacher, a coach, and an administrator, and in these roles I have witnessed the school’s growth and evolution through the years. We have grown in size as well as spirit.

Stories here will capture how seeds planted at Trinity have taken root and flourished into full-grown passions. You’ll also read stories of those in our community who bring their gifts from outside to help us learn. At Trinity, we seek to develop lifelong learners, and stories here will illustrate real-life examples of that beautiful symbiosis.

Read more "Connections"

List of 10 news stories.

  • At the Fore-front

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Student and faculty leaders nurture burgeoning disc golf club into a competitive team
    Read More
  • Paying it Forward

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Drawing strength from personal challenges, Rosie Williams ’26 works to inspire and mentor hearing impaired youth
    Read More
  • Wider Exposure

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    From the photography darkroom to the rapids of the James River, Thomas Clarkson ’24 finds creative ways to view and explore the world
    Read More
  • Independent Streak

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Sam Aisenberg ’24 is riding high in the saddle both in the equestrian ring and in her school community
    Read More
  • Balancing Act

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Olivia Rodenhaver ’26 makes time for competitive gymnastics — and sticks the landing
    Read More
  • photo courtesy of jshfoto

    Team First

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    With trademark unselfish play, Colin Flood ’23 leads Titan Soccer to historic highs 
    Read More
  • In Her Own Voice

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Sadie Holloway ’24 steps into the spotlight as both a singer and a leader
    Read More
  • Hanging Tough

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Reaching beyond challenges, Van Malkie ’24 pulls himself up to the next level
    Read More
  • Growing in Leadership

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    As Richmond Forum Scholar and Trinity student leader, Layal El-Ayoubi ’23 looks for ways to collaborate, encourage others and grow global awareness
    Read More
  • Odds on Favorites

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Two Trinity seniors rise to the top of national youth investment and finance competition
    Read More
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