Scholarship Stories: Steady Hand, Straightened Path

Senior scholarship student finds clarity with choral director’s help

 

Tess Greco is aware of her tendency to wander.

Thanks to a steady hand at Regis, she found a straighter path — and now is singing her way into her young adult life.

Greco, a music scholarship recipient and vocal performance major, graduated this spring as the assistant director of the Regis concert choir. Just three years ago, though, she was disillusioned with the lack of community she felt in the choir program — to the point that she considered transferring away from Regis.

Then Regis appointed a new concert choir director, Kyle Fleming, a highly regarded musician and educator who has taught along Colorado’s Front Range for more than 20 years. In high school, Greco participated in a community choir led by Fleming, and she recalled how much he inspired her.

Interested in how he might influence her experience at Regis, she decided to stick around. “I thought, OK, I think [his arrival] is a sign I should stay and see if he can transform this choir and renew our program,” she said.

Still, during her sophomore year, another challenging decision loomed: whether to commit fully to music or stick with the psychology and neuroscience track she had started. One day, while Greco was wrestling with that choice, she walked straight from a psychology class to a voice lesson. During that walk, she realized she needed to focus on music.

“I remember wishing I had worked a lot harder for my voice lesson, and I knew that I wanted that way more than anything . . . I started crying.”


“To me, [this] has been a major theme, at least in our conversations: Know who you are, who God has created you to be,” Fleming said. “Once it has become clear what you’re passionate about, what gets you up in the morning, then answer the question of what [you should] do.”

Along with prayer, conversations with Fleming helped guide her.

“To me, [this] has been a major theme, at least in our conversations: Know who you are, who God has created you to be,” Fleming said. “Once it has become clear what you’re passionate about, what gets you up in the morning, then answer the question of what [you should] do.”

Greco followed through with the decision, which brought new opportunities, including studying and performing chamber music in Rome for three weeks last year. “It was a dream come true,” she said.

Greco performed music from the classical to the contemporary with Regis’ concert choir and also has sung in the a capella club and the University Ministry chapel choir. She said she often can’t pull herself away from singing, sometimes forgoing outings with friends to spend hours in a practice room by herself.

“It’s that imaginative, almost meditative part of singing that takes me away from the world for a while,” she said. “It’s kind of a refuge, in a way.”

Greco plans to spend the next two years as a campus missionary for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). Afterward, she plans to pursue further vocal training and launch a career in music. “I will still be able to strengthen my music skills during missionary work,” Greco said. “FOCUS even encouraged me to keep taking voice lessons to expand my operatic repertoire, and so that I can apply to grad school afterwards.”

Greco’s dream is to perform opera someday. “I’m the only one in my class right now who wants to do that,” she said. “So, it’s kind of crazy to think that — it’s a really lofty dream.”

Perhaps none of that dreaming could have happened without Fleming’s guidance. In April, Greco created an 18-minute tribute video, featuring clips of herself and her classmates thanking Fleming for his influence, that she shared on YouTube.

As the end of her Regis experience approached, Fleming said Greco had earned the right to think big.

“Tess is someone who typifies what I think Regis wants [for students],” he said. “She can step out in bold ways and she’s not at risk of going too far because she’s planted and grounded. She has true humility.”