Dawn Padula ’97

Heart Songs

By Donna Parker

As a Houston-based performer and Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop at Sam Houston State University, Dawn Padula, who received two bachelor’s degrees, one in Vocal Performance and the other in Communication from Trinity in 1997, is not only making beautiful music, she’s teaching it as well.

“I most enjoy working with the students and watching them become viable musicians and teachers.  I feel I’ve had some part in giving them the tools and background to flourish,” says this rising star.

“My commute to Huntsville is 150 miles round trip each day, but the cultural events are in Houston, so that’s where I live.  I’ve done lots of professional singing with organizations such as the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Woodlands Symphony and Opera in the Heights.  Plus, I just enjoy what Houston has to offer.  I go to festivals in the fall like the Renaissance Festival, but the truth is that my jobs keep me extremely busy.  When I do have some free time, I spend it at home doing domestic chores,” says Dawn with a laugh.

Dawn credits Scott MacPherson, Department of Music, for taking an interest in her talent and allowing her solo opportunities when she performed on campus.

She adds, “He and David Heller, also Department of Music, provided me opportunities and guidance, encouraging me to move on beyond Trinity.  They convinced me I could be a success in grad school and that I was on par with my peers in other colleges.”

“If not music, then I might have gone into broadcasting based on my other degree, but truly my passion is music.”

“It was a real achievement for me to finish my doctorate in four years.  Many people take 10 years to complete a doctorate in music, but it was a real thrill to finish early.  It’s the one thing I’ve found that is entirely self-motivated.  There is no one holding your hand telling you to finish – it’s very much on you to do it.”

Dawn stays closely connected to Trinity as a member of the Houston alumni chapter. She’s also returned to campus to sing as a soloist with the Choral Union in 2007 and at Vespers a few years prior to that.

“I’ve seen the growth of the campus and have remained very proud of my alma mater.”

“I’m glad that my Trinity professors were role models for me – performing artists, as well as teachers.  They set a great example.  Because of them, I embraced that time and took advantage of opportunities.”

“Now, I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do.  I am a performer and teacher.”

You may e-mail Dawn at Dmp004@shsu.edu.