RE faculty member Laura Montes has studied voice in Austria and Italy; she earned a bachelor’s in vocal performance at the University of Miami; and she has sung professionally in operas and musical theater. She considers it a privilege to share her talent and training with the 44 students at Ransom Everglades who joined the school’s inaugural vocal ensembles this year.
The upper school and middle school vocal ensembles will perform at assemblies, in musicals, for the holidays and at a major spring concert. They will add an exciting new dimension to RE’s arts program, which also includes strings, band, drama, musical theater, guitar, dance and jazz offerings. Twenty-two vocal students are taking the Advanced Vocal Techniques and Performance course at the upper school and 22 are in the middle school Vocal Ensemble course.
“I feel extremely fortunate to do what I do,” Montes said. “I love to work at RE with our talented students. I know that our work and time together will impact their lives for the better regardless of whether or not they choose to pursue a career in performance. Performance is all about serving others and bringing joy to those around us.”
RE’s Director of Arts Shawn Costantino planned to incorporate vocal music into the performing arts curriculum from the moment he arrived to Ransom Everglades in summer 2021. Montes, who joined Ransom Everglades that fall, was a perfect fit. After earning her vocal performance degree from UM, she continued to study voice privately in New York with the famed mezzo-soprano Patricia McCaffrey. Montes has performed professionally with the Miami Lyric Opera, the Miami Mozarteum, the Bach Society, the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami, ProArte Grateli and the Young Patronesses of the Opera.
The students in the new performing arts courses display a range of singing and performing experience, Montes said, but none is accustomed to singing within a true choral ensemble. The students will learn vocal skills as they perform classical pieces, jazz, musical theater, pop and multicultural styles of music.
“Both ensembles are made up of talented students who are working towards developing their vocal technique, musicianship and artistry,” Montes said. “They will, in time, become stronger vocalists that can perform within the context of a polished choral ensemble.
“Performing well is developing talent and artistry to its highest potential and sharing it with the world. These students will make a positive mark in our RE community each time they perform. I love to be part of that.”
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.