Mary Beth McCarthy has received multiple Who's Who Among American Teachers' Awards, at both the University and High School levels, which honor excellence in education. She has also been recognized in the reference editions of Who's Who in American Education, Who's Who Among American Women and Who's Who in America.
Ms. McCarthy is recognized for having reconstructed and rejuvenated the Aurora University Music Program, including academic, performance and assessment components and is specifically recognized for creating and developing the Madrigal Choir and University Pop Singers. She is also recognized for having developed an Instrumental Music Program at Rosary High School (Illinois' only all girl symphony orchestra) from inception.
Currently, Ms. McCarthy has returned to teach at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) where she is Director of the Instrumental Music Program. During McCarthy's initial tenure at IMSA, where she served as Associate Conductor and Instructional Programming Assistant, the department grew to include three choirs, three bands, and an orchestra. McCarthy has revitalized the Strolling Strings Ensemble, and has added a Symphony Orchestra to IMSA's repertoire of performing ensembles.
Students from Ms. McCarthy's private voice studio often attend college on scholarship, win the highest ranking at vocal competitions and perform multiple primary roles in both professional and community musical theatre productions. Outside of the academic arena, Ms. McCarthy is a professional vocal artist and serves as the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Fox Valley Festival Chorus.
As a vocalist, she won a place in the International Bel Canto competition, and worked towards performance preparation with Met Soprano Martina Arroyo, La Scala Bass Giorgio Tozzi and San Francisco Opera Coach Natalie Limonick. Ms. McCarthy sang with the Lincoln Opera Company of Chicago for five years and has also performed primary roles in numerous area productions from oratorios to musicals. As a violinist and flautist, Ms. McCarthy has performed under many batons, including those of Gordon Peters, Dudley Powers and John Svoboda.
Ms. McCarthy writes original scripts and narratives for many of her ensembles' concert, musical and cabaret performances, as well as choreographs many of those performances. She has also conducted numerous area Chamber Ensembles as well as Dinner Theater Productions. Her many ensembles have performed at numerous venues, one of which was a performance in New York City at the renowned Lincoln Center for the Center's Lunchtime Concert Series. Additional performance venues have included: The White House Ellipse, The Lincoln Memorial and the steps of Congress in Washington D.C.; The Julliard School of Music and The Jewish Rehabilitation Home and Hospital, New York, N.Y.; Casa Loma Castle in Toronto, Canada; The Country Music Hall of Fame and Javelena Recording Studios in Nashville, TN; The Country Tonite Theatre, Branson, MO; Under the Picasso; a Lunchtime Concert Series and at The Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL; The Naperville Historical Society and The Naper Settlement in Naperville, IL; the Illinois Institute for Individual Advancement and the Kane County Cougars in Geneva, IL; The Dominican Mother House in Springfield, IL; and at brunches, board meetings, and luncheons for area associations and clubs.
Work on the Richter Fellowship took her to the British Isles, where focusing on The Anglo-Irish Conflict Illustrated by the Folk Song, she traveled to Cambridge and Oxford and interviewed members of Parliament. McCarthy also interviewed both the Administration of the Cecil Sharp House, London and Michael O'Sullibaen, foremost authority of Irish Folk Music at the University of Cork, Ireland. Her current research pertains to problem-based learning and learner center processing strategies that expedite student assimilation and absorption of music knowledge. Her most recent papers and presentations include: ComPoPosition Rap; Increasing Rhythmic Aptitude and Awareness Through Composition; Cognitive Immersion; Problem Processing in the Practice Room; If You Can't Beat 'Em Join 'Em, (a Music Advocacy Presentation); and Practical Applications of Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Within the Music Classroom.
Ms. McCarthy received her graduate degree from Northwestern University and served on the Northwestern Alumni Board of Directors for five years. Some of her professional affiliations include the Music Educators' National Conference (MENC), the Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
In 2012, McCarthy received, along with the Mayor of Aurora and the Kane County Sheriff, an award of excellence for Service to the Kane County Community.
Conductor & Artistic Director
Mary Beth McCarthy