Inside USD

Music Helps Pay Senior’s Way

Monday, March 1, 2010

GabeWhile music is a big part of senior Gabriel Hanna’s life, it’s far from the only part: his interests include politics and traveling abroad. But music is what has enabled him to explore a number of different disciplines at USD.

As a member of the Choral Scholars, the program has provided almost half of his tuition each semester. The Choral Scholars is an auditioned vocal ensemble composed of musically gifted students of high academic caliber. For many, like Hanna, it provides the necessary funds to allow them to attend the University of San Diego.

“I chose USD because it was, in my opinion, the best school in San Diego. I loved the fact that class sizes were so small and I could get special attention from the professors,” said Hanna. “Without the scholarship, I couldn’t afford to come here. I probably would have settled for a school outside of San Diego.”

The Choral Scholars have also provided an outlet for him to explore his passion for traveling. Each year, the group has been invited to perform in Europe, most recently in France. For Hanna, these trips will stand out long after he graduates.

“When I look back on my college career, the Choral Scholars will be the first thing I remember. I’ll never forget the trips around the world and the experiences we had like singing at a High Mass at the Vatican and in front of tourists in Notre Dame,” he said.

Hanna balances the demanding schedule of being a Choral Scholar with his duties as a work-studies employee in the Copley Library while he completes his degree in political science. After graduation, he hopes to work in politics or attend law school.

In the little that remains of his spare time, Hanna plays guitar alongside his father and uncle in the Flamenco band Novamenco. Since the mid-‘90s, the group has toured throughout the United States and regularly plays shows in the San Diego area. Hanna and Novamenco will be playing this spring in the San Diego Jazz Festival.

Although he doesn’t anticipate ultimately having a career in music, Hanna recognizes the benefits of his talent. “The fact that I can pay for my education by singing and still be a political science major truly is special.”

— Anthony Shallat ‘10

Click here to read a feature story in the Spring 2010 issue of USD Magazine about the Choral Scholars program.

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