Ronnie Zanella

Born in 1992, Brazil, to a family of musicians, one of the first memories I have from childhood is asking my mother (a music pedagogue, composer, and piano teacher) to put orchestral music for me to listen. I would then set up my mom’s sewing threads or my stuffed animals on the floor and pretend I was conducting them. That was my choir and orchestra when I was two/three years old, as shown on the picture. I still remember the day when my mother’s best friend gave me a conductor’s baton for my 4th birthday. From that moment forth, I was thrilled to spend hours conducting with style (going from pencils to a real baton was quite an upgrade).

My second passion has always been the piano. After seeing my older brother taking piano lessons, I decided I also wanted to do that. When I was 5 years old, my mom started teaching me piano. At 10 years old, my dear mother again suggested I should start learning a second instrument. Because my dad used to play the violin when he was young, I decided to learn that as well. Another fun fact about my family was that practicing our instruments was priority number one in the house; after doing that, then we could do our school homework, if we had time. I still don’t know why my mom was surprised when I told her at 12 years old that I wanted to be a professional musician.

Jumping forward in time, I decided to have a college degree in Piano Performance, which I started in Brazil for two and a half years, and then transferred to a college here in USA, Union College, in Lincoln, NE. I was 20 when I came, in 2012, and I didn’t know anybody or how to speak a sentence in English. When I graduated in May 2015, I decided to finally follow on my first passion, conducting; I applied and was accepted for the Master of Music program at Andrews University, MI, for the fall of 2015. I studied orchestral conducting with maestro Claudio Gonzalez for two years. After being in the choir and having known the director, Stephen Zork, I decided I also wanted to have a degree in Choral conducting. Towards the end of my Master’s degree, I decided I liked conducting choirs even more than orchestras, mostly due to the fact that choral music has always moved me to a deeper, more artistic and spiritual levels than any other type of music.

After graduating with a Master’s degree in both orchestral and choral conducting in May, 2019, I decided it was time for me to get back to Lincoln, NE, in order to continue with my studies with a doctoral degree in choral conducting. I was accepted at UNL with a full-time assistantship for the Fall 2019, studying under Dr. Peter Eklund and Dr. Marques Garrett. During my period there, I have worked for 3 years as the choir director of All-Collegiate choir, a non-auditioned mixed choir for students and community of Lincoln, in addition to being a TA for many other choirs and for an academic class of conducting for the undergrads. At the present moment, I’m done with all my academic classes, only preparing for my comprehensive exams and for my final written document, hoping to graduate in May, 2023.

I would like to thank you all from Westminster Presbyterian Church for receiving me so well and with such care. I already feel like I gained another family since the first day I came. It’s my honor to keep serving and getting to know you better as we share our love for Jesus Christ through music or any other means.

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial