By Joe Burns
November 1, 2013
New “Artist in Residence” Aims to Enhance Music Education
It was an offer Carol Ann Manzi couldn’t refuse. Manzi, a professional vocal artist, teacher and inspirational speaker, was approached earlier this year by a friend about the need for an Artist in Residence for Salem area Catholic Schools. Manzi said the offer was just perfect for all that is important in her life, “namely, my spiritual values, singing and teaching,” Manzi said. “Then, in a very short and divine order, the road was paved for me to get here and begin.”
The Salem Catholic Schools Foundation welcomed Manzi on board on October 1, 2013 and looks forward to working with her for many years to come. As Artist in Residence, Manzi will be teaching her talents and spreading her gifts to students at each of our Salem area Catholic Schools. “I am hoping that my programs will enable students to discover new talents, goals and dreams for themselves,” Manzi said. “I am hoping to expand their visions of life and of themselves through their creative self-expression.”
When you hear her voice, one would think that singing came very easy to her. But Manzi, an internationally acclaimed operatic soprano, says she has had to have a lot of discipline and practice to get where she is at today. She continues to practice every day. All the practicing and auditioning has led her voice to be carried all around the world. She has performed in some of the most prestigious opera houses, music venues and festivals in the world. Manzi says some of her proudest work is singing Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass of Verdi and his opera, La Traviata. “These are pinnacle moments for well-trained sopranos,” Manzi said. “After finishing a successful performance of either of these tour-de-force pieces, the feeling of satisfaction at what one has achieved is inexplicable on both a technical and emotional level.” And the road has not been very easy for Manzi.
Manzi was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34. She continued to pursue her singing career while battling the disease. Manzi even performed in the middle of a six month round of chemotherapy. “That time changed how I look at everything and led me toward my work as a singer and speaker for cancer causes around the world,” Manzi said. “I think my greatest achievement professionally and personally is that I am still here.”Manzi says she hopes people find courage when listening to her sing.
Faith plays a huge role in Manzi’s life and singing career. She has specific prayers she says daily before “facing the world as a human being” and certain prayers she uses facing “the public as an artist.” Her favorite hymn to sing is “How Great Thou Art.”
“Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made.”
“Those words take me aback every time,” Manzi said. “I can barely sing that hymn, truly, because the words get to me every time. They are so very powerful and meaningful to me.”
Manzi hasn’t just performed, she has also taught. Besides teaching privately for more than 20 years, she has been a music instructor at Santa Barbara City College in California, Greater Hartford Academy in Connecticut, and at Yale.
When Manzi is asked whether she prefers to teach or perform, she says she wishes to always being doing both. “Performing has been in my blood for longer than teaching has been. But once I got my feet wet as a teacher and realized how much I had to share and that I was quite good at it, it seemed a natural course of events,” Manzi said. “I think we must teach if we have been blessed to have learned so much.”
To learn more about Ms. Manzi’s work you can visit her websites: