Cailtin Finnie, 21, is beginning her fourth and final year studying vocal performance at Northwestern University, thanks in part to The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Partners Fine Arts Scholarship Program. Caitlin was awarded this scholarship in 2012 when she was one of several talented applicants to audition with vocal music. She went into her audition confident and relaxed, knowing the years she spent meticulously practicing and challenging herself to improve would show the judges the level of passion and commitment she possesses as an artist.
Scholarship Received: 2012
High School: The John Cooper School, May 2012
Voice Part: Soprano
Favorite Music to Perform for Fun: Indie Rock
Receiving this scholarship from The Pavilion Partners helped Caitlin fulfill her intention of attending Northwestern University, which may not have been an option without the additional funds it provided. “I had already decided to major in vocal music,” she explained, “but I was looking for any way to help take the pressure of tuition off my parents so I could attend whichever school was best for me.” Initially, Caitlin planned to attend any one of the small liberal arts schools to which she applied because of their reputation in music programs. However, by deciding on Northwestern, Caitlin now enjoys a “really well-rounded college experience” as a student of the conservatory within the larger university.
The curriculum Caitlin studies at Northwestern is very diverse within her major. She is currently enrolled in a wide variety of music classes, including opera, performance and coaching. In addition to the classical styles of music she is studying, Caitlin takes part in several musical theater productions at her school. Recognizing that this mixture of interests and performance styles is unusual among singers, she clarified that she “prefer[s] opera, but [has] a lot of fun doing musical theater.”
While she doesn’t plan to pursue both styles of performance, she believes it is smart to audition for and adapt to both areas. “Your voice will eventually decide which you are better suited for,” she said practically, so she continues to enjoy extracurricular involvement in musical theater to complement her studies. Now, Caitlin is looking forward to life after graduation. She is currently in the process of applying for graduate schools, including Northwestern, as well as Yale and Curtis Institute of Music. Regardless of which graduate school she attends next year, Caitlin is excited to continue her education of vocal music and prepare for a very promising career in opera performance.
Music has long been a part of Caitlin’s life. At age 7, Caitlin began her education of instrumental music with piano lessons. She also took up violin and flute briefly, before discovering a passion for voice. Since then, she has taken voice lessons, performed in musical theater, and developed her classical voice. In her transition from high school to college, she also transitioned into a focus on opera music. “I think I am just naturally a singer,” she laughed. “I am always singing. Even for a singer I sing a lot!”
“Fine arts are important to different people in different ways,” said Caitlin. Music, in particular, plays several different roles for her. In the past, Caitlin has utilized music as a tool to overcome being shy, also employing it as an outlet for her to express herself more fully. “Music has an incredible power to heal,” she shared. “It’s a really beautiful part of our culture and humanity. And it’s a part of me that I love sharing with others.”
To current high school students hesitating before completing their own application for The Pavilion Partners Fine Arts Scholarship, Caitlin advises not to contemplate, but just do it! “You really don’t have anything to lose,” she said encouragingly. This scholarship is an opportunity for students to “pursue what you love while attending the school of your choice,” just like Caitlin.