In this interview, we get to meet Mrs. Mello-Hemsley, a music teacher at Neumann-Goretti. Mrs. Mello is not only a music teacher but she also has a personal music career.
How long have you been interested in music?
“My mom told me that one of my early words was “Music” though I called it “Moose Kik”. But I distinctly remember writing songs at this broken, out of tune piano in my house by as young as 5. Due to income restrictions I didn’t actually get a chance to get lessons on any instrument until I was 14 and enrolled here, but when it was St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School for girls. I chose cello because it rhymed with my last name. In 2000, I was accepted to Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and St. Maria Goretti High School loaned me my first cello so that I could get through college. I was very lucky and auditioned for a very prominent studio and was accepted. A few years later I attended a chamber music program in Paris, and eventually worked towards a Master of Music degree.”
What inspired or influenced you become a music teacher?
“It actually happened by accident. I had no intention of going into music Education, I didn’t go to school for it, nor did I see myself doing it at all. However, I was asked to be a substitute for an orchestra teacher that was going on medical leave for a few months back in 2005 at my alma mater which was not a coed school (Neumann-Goretti, actually!). I was very young, and didn’t have any classroom experience BUT I immediately felt at home in both the secondary level, and in music education. I tried, and still try, to absorb all I can about educational philosophies to impart on my teaching practice. But what I think I am most proud of is that I have been a very loud, very public supporter for saving and expanding arts programs in Philadelphia. I truly believe in the transformative power of music education in urban areas.”
Is there anything new that you are currently working on?
“Actually, YES! I am working on a series of recitals both here and overseas on the music of Franz Schubert with a good friend of mine, Pat D’Amato, Pianist. I have also recently performed with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra.”
Do you have any exciting upcoming events that we could check out?
“Yes! I am playing a bunch of shows in and around Philadelphia, including, but not limited to:
The Addams’ Family, The Little Mermaid, Pippin, Company, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins, and another appearance with the Lancaster Symphony, in addition to a summer series with the Jersey Shore Pops. As for the students, YES! We have our big Spring Concert coming up in April. We will also perform for prospective 7th graders in March.”
If you would like to go see and support Mrs. Mello at any of her personal shows, you can email her at [email protected] or just ask her in person. Thank you Mrs. Mello for your many contributions to Neumann-Goretti. Break a leg!