Accruing 39 years of industry experience to her credit, Susan Parton Stanard is the director of choral ensembles and vocal studies and a professor of music at Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois, since 2002, as well as a performer in operas, concerts and recitals since 1982. She began her professional career as an adjunct professor of music at Jacksonville University in Florida in 1983, remaining in this position for 12 years. During this time, she also directed the chorus and orchestra at Mayport Junior High School, now known as Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School, in Atlantic Beach, Florida, from 1985 to 1987. Ms. Stanard then taught voice adjunctively at Florida State College at Jacksonville from 1999 to 2002 before joining Lewis & Clark Community College as department chair from 2002 to 2010 and music program coordinator from 2003 to 2010.
In addition to this tenure, Ms. Stanard was the organist at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Jacksonville from 1983 to 1995. Likewise, she was the director of music at Isle Faith United Methodist Church in Jacksonville from 1995 to 2002, the 12th Street Presbyterian Church in Alton, Illinois, from 2004 to 2007 and Godfrey First United Methodist Church from 2007 to 2011, among other roles. Today, Ms. Stanard is an operatic/concert artist since 1980, a preparatory music coordinator since 2007 and the director of music at the Evangelical United Church of Christ since 2010.
Prior to the start of her career, Ms. Stanard pursued a formal education at Jacksonville University, earning a Bachelor of Music in voice and opera in 1979 and a Master of Arts in teaching music education in 1988. She additionally completed postgraduate coursework in choral conducting and literature at Illinois State University in Normal, as well as the Diaconal Ministry, United Methodist Church and Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando. Ms. Stanard is also a nationally certified teacher of music in voice and piano through the Music Teachers National Association since 2009. Furthermore, she received a charter certification in contemporary commercial music, levels 1 through 3, and the Jeanette Lo Vetri method of somatic voiceworks through the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia.
Active in her local community, Ms. Stanard was president and a board director of the Greater Alton Concert Association, and was treasurer, advisory committee member and board director of the Alton Little Theater. She also served on the board of the Alton Youth Symphony, and was a Western Opera representative at the Sister City Festival with the Chinese National Opera in Jacksonville and Beijing. A talented musician, Ms. Stanard has sang and played in a number of operas throughout her career including Puccini’s “Tosca,” “Suor Angelica” and “Manon Lescaut,” Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana,” Bizet’s “Carmen,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “Requiem,” and Verdi’s “Manzoni Requiem.”
Outside of her primary trade, Ms. Stanard serves on the Illinois articulation incentive music advisory panel of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board, as well as an associate member of its fine arts steering committee. She also maintains involvement with numerous organizations related to her field such as the American Guild of Organists, the Music Teachers National Association, the National Association for Music Education, the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the national archive committee of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, the Illinois Music Education Association and the advisory board of the Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization.
In light of her many achievements, Ms. Stanard received the Outstanding Artist of the Year Award from the New Jersey State Opera in 1981, placed first in the Florida Eastern Regional’s Metropolitan Opera Auditions between 1981 and 1982, and was named an Outstanding Artist of Northeast Florida by the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville in 1982. Some years later, she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the students at Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School for the 1985-1986 school year, and went on to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award from Emerson Electric Co. in 2008 and the Woman of Distinction Award from the Young Women’s Christian Association in 2009, among others. Notably, Ms. Stanard was also selected for inclusion in the eighth edition of Who’s Who in American Education and several editions of Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
However, Ms. Stanard’s greatest achievement to date and what she is most proud of is personally seeing that her son, Raymond Harris, has grown up to be a good person. Another highlight is when she gets contact from her former students that she has not heard from in over 20 years. They are successful in their career, and they are telling her that she influenced them and helped them make up their minds with their careers. Recently, Ms. Stanard received an e-mail from a former student, who is now a teacher of music. Just seeing that she planted a seed in that student and that the seed sprouted is amazing. The student wanted her to know that he made it, and she knew he had the heart to become a teacher. It was neat to see it go full circle.