Watching Seattle Pacific University senior Scott Nellessen and his SPU a capella men’s group, the 007ths, take the stage is what Associate Professor of Music Carlene Brown called “one of those teary-eyed moments.” She is a talent scout for Seattle Theatre Group, and it’s because of her mentorship and encouragement that the 007ths got a chance to perform in front of 1,500 people at Seattle’s Moore Theatre.
In addition to her work as director of SPU's Music Therapy Program, Brown helps with scouting and production for More Music @ The Moore, an annual concert for young artists representing diverse music genres.
“When I saw the level of talent of the 007ths, I encouraged them to audition,” she says.
They did more than just sing a few songs. Brown’s style of mentoring is all about empowering her students. “She was very clear about letting us know, ‘This is your thing,’” Nellessen says. That attitude pushed him to take a risk.
Brown is proud of the 007ths' success. Most of the men are music majors, many are involved in other choirs, but all are part of SPU’s Music Department. Now their world is expanding beyond the University. They’ve developed a relationship with Seattle Theatre Group, and they have been asked to sing at more events.
“Being asked to perform at professional venues regularly is an unusual experience for a young performer,” Brown says for the 007ths, who were award winners at the Homecoming Talent Show earlier this month, there will hopefully be many more big performances to come.
–– Excerpted from the winter issue of etc magazine.