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What Our Alumni Say

Aaron Primero ‘05
Investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York; graduate of Columbia University and Oxford, where he studied Classics and Financial Economics, respectively; Fulbright Scholar in 2014

Placeholder image“My time at the choir school allowed me to reimagine myself. It’s where I learned to sing, tie a tie, read Latin.

There is no place like it. No school whose mission blends art, worship, scholarship, and service. No table to which, year after year, alums return to break bread with one another on Thanksgiving.”

  

Chad Newsome ‘81
National Sales Manager, PL Custom Body and Equipment Co., Inc.

Placeholder image“The Choir School is indeed the experience of a lifetime.  As a graduate from 35 years ago, I look at my own fellow classmates as a barometer for how well this school prepares its boys.  The Class of 1981, all seven members, has produced a string of achievements.  Our small class has seen its fair share of success as authors, clergy, recording artists and composers, educators, business leaders, and music industry veterans.  I believed so much in the school that my son attended and graduated from St. T’s in 2013.  His class is also building on the tremendous foundation that the Choir School provided.

For almost 98 years, the Saint Thomas Choir School has produced successful citizens, young men who strive for excellence. Part of the beauty of this school is that the boys do not appreciate all that they have learned until later in their lives.  While students there, the boys do not realize how the demands of their liturgical calendar, the varied concert schedule, coupled with their rigorous educational and athletic demands, works in concert to build young men driven to be their very best.  However, it is in that later appreciation of beautiful music, a love of learning, and a desire to be good citizen, that truly forms the hallmarks of a Choir School education.

It is this overall experience that keeps me engaged with the school.  It is the shared commitment by the Headmaster, Father Charles Wallace, the Rector, Reverend Canon Carl F. Turner, and the Vestry, and our new Organist and Director of Music, Daniel Hyde, to not only maintain this excellence, but also to expand and improve upon it.  More importantly, it is why you should consider giving your son the chance of a lifetime.  Nothing else compares to this opportunity. Nothing.”

Chuck Soltis ‘52
Owner and Managing Director (now retired) of Soltis Management Services, the oldest management consulting and executive search firm in the US. He attended New York State Maritime College in engineering and undergraduate and graduate work at Eastern University where he earned a BA in Psychology.

Placeholder imageIn addition, the study and performance of vocal music, centering on the inimitable standards of Saint Thomas, has given me an opportunity to use a God given talent in self- fulfillment. The key measurement of success in life for me, is the ability to actually use the talents and innate abilities given to us by our creator.

Another significant experience attained at the Choir School was learning the value of both team play and the striving for perfection in all that we do. The love of fine music, as learned at Saint Thomas, has greatly enriched my life in ways that add real meaning to the purpose and love of the arts. This in turn has paid almost daily dividends through the years. The Choir School is exceptional in its ability to give students these qualities; qualities that give real meaning to life.

David Shaw '95
Certified Financial Professional; Financial Advisor, UBS Financial Services Inc

Placeholder imageThough it was admittedly daunting to head off to boarding school in midtown Manhattan at the age of 9, the choir school provided an experience unlike any other I could have had. Once worried about missing my family, I soon discovered that my 40 schoolmates were like brothers and my 10 teachers were like parents.

Apart from the one-of-a-kind relationships I developed, I also carry with me the discipline and independence instilled in everyday life at 202 West 58th street, both traits that served me well, first as a navy pilot and now as a Financial Advisor. I'm constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to attend Saint Thomas and how my upbringing and character were enriched because of it.

Sean McFate ‘84
Dr. Sean McFate is an expert on national security, foreign policy and terrorism, a writer of non-fiction and a novelist. He is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank, and a professor of strategy at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Placeholder image"My five years at the Choir School were the most important of my childhood. Classrooms were a happy and secure environment, giving me a life long love of learning. Living away from home imparted confidence at an early age.

The functional independence and self-sufficiency I gained at the Choir School has served me well throughout my adult life. My classmates are brothers, not just fellow students. The Choir School is a special place to grow up.”

Tom Carroll, MD ‘88
Thomas Carroll, MD, is Director of the Voice Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston Massachusetts where he serves as a laryngeal surgeon. He is an instructor of Otolaryngology at Harvard University School of Medicine. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in music from Oberlin College and then went on to receive his medical doctorate at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton Ohio.

Placeholder image"I graduated from Saint Thomas in 1988 and was exposed to the music and environment that inspired my calling.  Choral music remains what I enjoy to listen to while I work and remains the style in which I sing today as I remain an active choral singer in the Boston area.

I never saw myself as a professional musician, but through the education, independent spirit and work ethic instilled at Saint Thomas, I pursued a profession that allows me to use my knowledge of music and voice in a field that cares for professional voice users.

Trevor Weston ‘81
Weston received his B.A. from Tufts University and continued his studies at the University of California, Berkeley where he earned his M. A. and Ph. D. in Music Composition.  Dr. Weston is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Drew University in Madison, NJ. Trevor Weston’s musical piece, “Flying Fish” was played by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on March 24, 2017 and was a joint commission by the orchestra and Carnegie Hall.

Placeholder image "At Saint Thomas, I learned that music is more than an enjoyable diversion. Music can be a powerful form of communication that can utter, through sound, emotions and ideas that words can only begin to describe. When performed at the highest level, music can be transformative.

For this reason, the Choir School taught us that performance at the highest level was an important personal responsibility. The choir’s work ethic was echoed in all aspects of our lives. We were encouraged to aim for excellence in every endeavor. I believe this important aspect of the culture cultivated by the Choir School creates graduates who become leaders in their respective fields. 

Roger Black ’62 speaking about Ed Morgan ‘52
Since 1970, Roger Black been involved in the design of the content-based print and digital media. He has held staff positions at The New York Times, Newsweek and New York Magazine and subsequently, his design studio has undertaken redesigns for numerous well-known publishing companies. He currently maintains his own design studio with offices internationally.

Placeholder imageEd Morgan was proof that the Choir School has a persistent, rich culture that survives the students and the faculty. That it continues with the same dedication and faith is a testament to people like Ed. He accepted the challenge to sing in the choir, and helped build on the culture that Frederick Candlyn and the founders began. 

When I first met him, he talked about the music, the church, and the school with enormous enthusiasm—and told a number of great stories. Ed started at Saint Thomas the year I was born. So, to see him at alumni gatherings, among many of his juniors, was reassuring—hearing him speak so warmly about the meaning of Saint Thomas Choir School, and seeing everyone nod. It makes me feel that this spirit will be around for a long time to come.

Requiéscat in pace.