Cat Taylor has had a distinguished musical career that includes 10 years with the Tacoma Youth Chorus, singing the national anthem at several sports games and assemblies and performing as lead dancer in several school musicals.
She is also a skilled equestrian who placed second nationally for extreme mountain trail and has being showing horses through 4-H.
“My horses are a huge part of my life and they help me through a lot of things,” she says.
Coming from a musical family including both grandparents, Taylor followed in a cousin’s footsteps by joining the Tacoma Youth Chorus. During her 10-year tenure with TYC, she has displayed strong vocal, musicianship and leadership skills, according to founder and artistic director Judith Herrington.
“Her dedication is indicative of her sense of responsibility to her musical training and commitment and to being a team player and contributor. Every aspect of our program she has met with maturity, passion, skill, diligence and talent,” Herrington says.
Taylor says she didn’t become confident in doing solo work until her sophomore year, when her teacher suggested vocal lessons. During the recital, Taylor was overcome by stage fright, and her first song was “rocky.” But as she worked her way through, she “got into a bubble” and by the end of her performance, both her teacher and the audience were crying at the emotional piece.
“In that moment, I knew I wanted to influence someone through my music, inspire them and connect emotionally,” she says.
Originally interested in veterinary science, during that recital Taylor decided to pursue a career in music instead. Last summer, she attended the Tanglewood Institute of Opera at Boston University, where she learned many new techniques, including managing stage fright.
“Caitlyn is an incredibly confident young woman and shines on stage. She has one of the most natural senses of stage presence I have ever seen in a teenager,” says Dana Lynne Varga, Ph.D., a voice faculty member at Tanglewood and the founder of MetroWest Opera. “Given Caitlyn’s young age, I was quite impressed with her level of maturity.”
In addition to her commitment to music and horses, Taylor has been busy with community service and paid work while also maintaining an excellent GPA.
“I stay more on track when I’m busy,” she says.
She plans to attend Pacific Lutheran University to major in vocal performance with an emphasis in opera. Her long-term goal after performing as a professional opera singer is to teach choir at a high school.
Category: Music, Art and Drama
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parent: Diane Harnington
Activities/Achievements: Concert and chamber choir section leader, Drama Club, musical theater including lead dancer in three plays, Tacoma Youth Chorus, Young Life, Pierce County and Mason County 4-H, Scholar Musician Award, All-State Symphonic Achievement Award, choir varsity letter, Musical Theater Superior Achievement Award, Boston University Tanglewood Institute of Opera, state equine judging team, equine competitions, National Honor Society, volunteer for numerous projects
Favorite teacher: Alison Ellis, choir. “She has taught me so much and has shown me that I can do whatever I put my mind to and all things happen for a reason.”
Best thing about high school: “The music and theater program has given me a place where I can fit in. The people are amazing and we have grown to be like a family.”