(l-r: Mary Schmidt, Karrie Been, Monica Coenen, Abby Schmidt perform “Pick-a-Little” from the 2013 Cabaret fundraiser for newVoices. Abby’s husband Andy is photo-bombing in the background)
My name is Abby Schmidt and I’m a music teacher in the Hortonville Area School District. I teach 6th-8th grade chorus, high school show choir and women’s vocal jazz, band lessons, steel drum ensemble, and am Assistant Director for the high school musical. In my “spare time,” my husband Andy and I sing in newVoices.
I grew up in Wisconsin and have lived all over the state, but I went to college in Miami and got my Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. I actually met our artistic director Phillip Swan at the University of Miami where I did my undergraduate work and he was working on his Doctoral degree. I was fortunate to get to sing with him in some ensembles and have him as my director in other ensembles. After college I moved back to Wisconsin and Phillip accepted a job at Lawrence University so I am lucky to get to continue to work with him in newVoices. It’s such a treat to have him here in Northeast Wisconsin!
Music is very important to my family. My husband Andy is also a music teacher in Weyauwega-Fremont. My mother is the high school choral director at Hortonville High School. My dad is a semi-retired Methodist minister who plays the guitar and sings and my brother is a camera man for a living but sings with a professional a cappella group in New York City called Blue Jupiter.
Singing is important to me because it is such a personal way to express emotion. The act of using your own body to create music is an amazing experience. Singers get to use music and text to create some wonderful moments. I love singing with newVoices because we are able to come together to create emotional, musical experiences that are greater than ourselves.