When GRAMMY winners come to mind, images of Beyoncé, U2, or Stevie Wonder are common —but what about an SSFS seventh grader?
At the 64th annual GRAMMY awards, Maddy Bayard ’28 joined the ranks of music legends as part of the National Children’s Chorus (NCC), which was awarded what is considered the music industry’s highest honor in the category of Best Choral Performance. Intended to recognize excellence in music and recording arts, the GRAMMYs’ 2022 Awards Show was held on Sunday, April 3 (after being postponed due to pandemic-related health and safety concerns), and NCC’s trophy was presented to its conductors, as well as those of the other musical groups involved in the winning recording. The GRAMMY was then taken on tour for NCC’s winter concert series, during which those who were a part of the award-winning recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, 'Symphony Of A Thousand’ were invited to take individual pictures with the iconic gold-plated gramophone trophy—including, just recently, Sandy Spring Friends' own Maddy Bayard.
After participating in the Children’s Chorus of Washington for two seasons, Maddy decided to audition for National Children’s Chorus, and was selected in 2019. A former middle school band member and current cross country runner at SSFS, as she heads to school each day, Maddy most looks forward to seeing her friends, Terrell Davis’ humanities class, and—perhaps not surprisingly—Vocal Music class with Dana Scott. “Dana encourages me to keep singing on my good days and bad days.” Outside of school, she makes time for the significant commitment that NCC participation involves, including a weekly two-hour live rehearsal, small group practices, and individual vocal lessons over Zoom. Over time, Maddy has been able to enjoy the fruits of her labor at performances in concert venues such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City—and, of course, GRAMMY recognition! “Winning the GRAMMY took a lot of work, but we got there, and it was good to see the hard work pay off,” Maddy reflects.
Only in its second decade, National Children’s Chorus is regarded as one of the world’s leading children’s choirs, providing unparalleled training to talented singers locally and abroad, with more than 35 choirs and 1,000 students based in the chapter cities of Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, and Boston. Open to students aged five through 17, NCC choirs perform locally and abroad, as one of few youth arts organizations in America to have its concert series presented by professional music halls, working with some of the finest conductors, composers, and orchestras from around the world. Speaking to Maddy’s talent and commitment, advisor Pinki Shah P ’34, Middle School Humanities Teacher, shares, “Maddy has an incredibly beautiful voice—she has worked hard, and her GRAMMY is well deserved!” Maddy, in turn, credits Pinki—as well as her friends at SSFS—for supporting and encouraging her along the way.
Anyone familiar with NCC’s mission—to transform the lives of young people, empowering them to effectively lead society toward the ideals of artistic excellence, cultural openness, and social diversity—will notice the distinct similarities to SSFS’ missional goal to provide a transformative experience that equips and empowers students to be global change makers. Reflecting on this experience, Maddy shares, “Terrell [Middle School Humanities Teacher] really inspires me to make change in the world.”
This summer, Maddy looks forward to performing with NCC in England, Wales, and Scotland and recording an album at Abbey Road Studios in London, an international icon regarded as the world’s first recording studio, that has been the musical home to artists including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, and Adele. When asked to give advice to students who want to take the next step in their chosen activity or passion, Maddy says, “Do what you love and you will eventually have success.”