NSA Choir is Nationally Recognized

Nashville School of the Arts Choir Will Perform for Thousands of Choral Directors
Posted on 09/23/2022
NSA choral director Trey Jacobs rehearsing with choir

A high school choir that has consistently wowed local and regional audiences will take its beautiful sound to a national stage in a few months.

Cantabile, the Nashville School of the Arts choral ensemble of 46 altos and sopranos, has been selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association’s national conference in Cincinnati in February. It’s one of just 26 choirs of any kind – and the only one from Tennessee – tapped to perform at the event, which draws thousands of choral directors each year. NSA Cantabile Choir rehearsing


“It’s a really, really big honor. Last year we went to the southern ACDA conference (in Raleigh), and that was absolutely incredible,” said Rox Davidson, an NSA senior and Cantabile member. “It’ll be something I’ll remember for a long time. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like at this national ACDA conference. I know we can put in the work required, and I’m excited to see what our final product will be.”

Trey Jacobs, who teaches and conducts Cantabile as NSA’s director of choral studies, said he’s been attending the national conference since 1993 and can’t remember a Tennessee high school performing.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the work of my students, what they’ve done to accomplish this, and just really proud for Nashville School of the Arts to get this recognition,” Jacobs said. “It’s definitely been an uphill climb to get us to this point."

At a rehearsal Wednesday morning, Jacobs pushed and prodded the singers to hit all the right notes, fine-tune their movements and put meaning behind the words they sang as they ran through three of the six pieces they’ll perform in Cincinnati.

“When you said ‘scariest,’ was it scary?” he asked during one pause.

“No!” the students admitted.

But while he was never shy to correct or cajole, Jacobs also was quick to praise the group on several occasions.

“Listen, really great stuff, y’all,” he said after one series of repetitions. “Really fantastic.” NSA choral student singing

Several senior members of Cantabile - named for an Italian word that can mean song or a smooth singing style - said Jacobs had inspired them in new ways, and they described a family-like atmosphere.

“This is my family, my people,” Ellanor Leatherwood said. “We have the same understanding.”

“I’m so excited to do this with my best friends and with Mr. Jacobs,” Krisbel Blanco said. “I feel that since I came here that I’ve not only evolved as a musician but also as a person. He’s been a mentor for me. I just feel like there’s a before-and-after since the moment I first came here to now. I feel so much better and so much more empowered.”

Another senior, Dionne Mitchell, said the Cantabile team had gotten closer as a result of COVID, despite it keeping them physically apart for much of the Class of 2023’s first two years of high school.

“I love this choir so much,” she said. “It’s been an amazing ride. Being able to go to ACDA twice in a row and now making the nationals, thinking about it, it’s like, this is a really big deal.”

Support NSA Choir's Trip

NSA welcomes donations to help students offset the costs of the trip, which will include two nights in a hotel. Donors can contact Jacobs via email for more information.

Night On Broadway September 30 and October 1

The Choral Conservatory is performing a Night on Broadway at 7 p.m. Friday, September 30 and October 1. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.  

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