Imagine it: a melodic voice that is so powerful it causes everyone in the room to come to a standstill; a voice gentle but that projects waves of emotion upon its listeners with the utterance of a single sound. This voice belongs to none other than New Brunswick’s and Mt. A’s own Sarah MacLoon, one of the first-place winners at the 2021 National Music Festival organized by the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals. From a heart-warming rendition of “Dangerous to Dream” from Frozen the Musical to the comedic lament of “What Ever Happened to My Part?” from Spamalot, MacLoon can do it all. Her facial expressions and body movements sold both performances, and she completely embodied the characters behind them (Elsa and the Lady of the Lake, respectively). Needless to say, it is no secret why she won the musical theater category.
Sarah MacLoon is a fourth-year student studying voice through the Bachelor of Music program here at Mt. A; however, her connection to Mt. A started when she began studying voice with Professor Monette Gould at 14-years-old. “I met [her] when I was 11. She told me there was something special in me that she recognized, and from that moment on, I knew I wanted to work with her,” said MacLoon.
MacLoon has been involved with theater from a young age, enrolling in Theatre New Brunswick’s theater school as a child. “It was a great environment to explore what kind of performer I wanted to become,” MacLoon said when reflecting on her experiences. She has also been performing at the Fredericton Music Festival from the age of nine years old, and it was Professor Gould who encouraged her to carry on to the Provincial level, which she did with great success. In fact, it was attending the Provincial Music Festivals and seeing the senior competitors vie for their place in Nationals that encouraged her to do the same. It was in 2019 that MacLoon’s ambitions came to fruition when she was recommended for her first National Music Festival in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Even though she did not place, she exclaimed that she was simply “happy to be there.”
However, due to COVID-19, that was the first and last National Music Festival she got to compete in until this year. When given the opportunity to do a virtual music festival she “jumped at the chance.” Dusting off her vocal cords, she proved to be more than a worthy competitor.
Reflecting upon her experience as a performer and a competitor, MacLoon commented: “It has been a great opportunity to get advice about singing and acting from experienced professionals. I don’t think I recognized what an amazing opportunity it was until I got older.”
The 2021 National Music Festival was held online via Zoom. MacLoon’s performances were part of the Grand Award Competition where competitors across eight disciplines competed for the 2021 Grand Award Prize on August 14th. This Grand Award consisted of a $5000 cash prize from the NRS Foundation through the Victoria Foundation and a performance opportunity with Symphony New Brunswick. MacLoon’s performance can be found on YouTube.