Ashley Schneberger (BMus '20; voice) was invited by Dr. Janet Youngdahl to sing 'O Canada' at the spring 2020 convocation ceremonies. In lieu of a live performance, Ashley was thrilled to kick off convocation week for her fellow graduates virtually.

To be able to sing for 2020 convocation was a huge honour! I’ve always hoped that I would be able to sing for convocation while I was in my undergrad, so I’m very thankful it happened. It meant so much to get to sing all the new graduates off and see them start this new chapter of their lives, even if it is virtual! Even though the performance was virtual, I am still extremely honoured and proud to be a Pronghorn and represent the Faculty of Fine Arts - Department of Music, and the University as a whole.

We asked Ashley about her uLethbridge experience:

What is your most memorable uLethbridge experience?
I have many memorable experiences at the U of L, from being on the ORS council and being a residence assistant, to performing in the Opera Workshop program with my best friends. I’ve made so many memories that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my career. One of my favourite experiences was having a lead role in our Opera Workshop program this past year, sharing the stage with incredibly talented people who have become my closest friends.

Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your uLethbridge?
My biggest influences  were Dr. Janet Youngdahl and Dr. Blaine Hendsbee. Janet was my studio instructor and she genuinely changed my life. She helped me discover who I am as a performer, pushed me to be my best, challenged me to work harder and has shaped me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t be here without her, and I couldn’t have imagined spending four years with anyone else! Blaine was my director for Opera Workshop and has helped me grow my craft, giving me opportunities to take on wonderful roles and teaching me how to be a performer. I wouldn’t have found my passion for opera performance without him, and I will be forever grateful.

What is the most important lesson you learned?
The most important lesson I learned was to follow my passions. I came to the University with the intent to get a B.Sc/B.Ed and completely changed my path after my first year, choosing to do something I love. It was a life-changing decision, and I am so grateful that I got to opportunity to do so.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?
My biggest hope/dream for my future is to be a professional opera singer and perform. I love to be on stage and to tell stories, and I would love to do it for the rest of my life. This next year, I will be attending the University of Manitoba for my Masters of Music in Opera Performance and I am so excited! I’m hoping that I will get to continue learning and grow my skills as a performer to set myself up for success in the future.

What advice would you give to students who are about to begin their post-secondary journeys?
Put yourself out there and seek out any opportunity you can! The worst thing you can hear is the word “no,” but you never know what opportunities can arise until you try. Don’t be afraid of rejection, and let it fuel you to do better and motivate you for your next journey.