Tenor Scott Mello Makes Debut at Carnegie Hall

Certain e-mail addresses are revelatory. Like vanity license plates, they offer a quick character study or a shorthand résumé. Take one that begins: "Teatromello." Even without any Italian, it's easy enough to parse out "theater" from "teatro" and glean that the person in question has some connection with the performing arts.

In Scott Mello's case, "some connection" is an understatement.

Mello made his Carnegie Hall debut March 25 as a featured tenor soloist in Monteverdi's Gloria with the New England Symphonic Ensemble. MidAmerica Productions' conductor-in-residence Eric Dale Knapp led the ensemble, which also showcased choirs from across the United States.

A native of Newton, New Jersey, music surrounded Mello while he was growing up. His parents are music educators for the New Jersey public schools and both teach piano and voice privately out of their home. They have, he says, instilled in him an unflagging love of music.

Yet despite making his stage debut at five as young Patrick in a high-school production of Mame, Mello says that he did not sing formally until coming to Oberlin. His parents would not permit it.

"Because they teach voice, they understand the importance of protecting a young person's vocal experiences," says Mello, who is in the fourth year of a five-year bachelor of music degree program in vocal performance and music education.

"When we visited Oberlin," says Mello, "it was clear that it had everything any other major conservatory had with one exception: Oberlin offered the most opportunities for undergraduate students."

Mello studies voice with Associate Professor of Singing Lorraine Manz. She is his first voice teacher.

"It has been very gratifying to work with Scott," says Manz. "I'm so pleased that such a performance opportunity has come at this point in his young career."
As a soloist, Mello has appeared with Cleveland's Trinity Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Daniel Hathaway and with the West London Sinfonia at the Tuscany International Children's Chorus Festival, conducted by Doreen Rao, in Florence and Rome. In 1997, he received a New Jersey Governor's Award in the Arts for Excellence in Music Performance.

His stage credits with the Oberlin Opera Theater include roles in Bizet's Carmen, with guest conductor Stephen Lord of Boston Lyric Opera, and in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, with guest conductor Ward Holmquist of Kansas City Opera. Most recently, he appeared as Guillot de Morfontaine in the fall 1999 staging of Massenet's Manon, under the baton of Associate Professor of Conducting Robert Spano, music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has been a member of the Oberlin College Choir since 1997.

Throughout the spring he performed Monteverdi's Vespers with Apollo's Fire, the Cleveland baroque orchestra.

Despite his growing performance résumé, Mello is equally at home behind the scenes. He enjoys the administrative aspects of music making – he's been a tour manager and producer, and he is the intern in the Office of Career Development. He also loves teaching. He volunteers with the Oberlin Music Coalition, has worked with the Oberlin Youth Chorale under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Education Jody Kerchner, and teaches six students in a private voice studio.
-Marci Janas '91

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