commencement

2014 Honorary Degree Citation

Rochelle M. Bard '98
Doctor of Music

BardAcclaimed soprano, accomplished pianist, dedicated teacher, devoted daughter of Holy Cross.

You have travelled far from Mount St. James to perform, compete and triumph in opera houses around the world. Your extraordinary voice dazzles judges, enchants audiences and inspires others to find the courage to follow their passion.

On your journey from campus to Carnegie Hall you unpacked your soaring soprano to the delight of the opera world and the awe of music critics. You have performed the leading roles in Madame Butterfly, La Traviata and Rigoletto, among a litany of others. You have received rave reviews as a concert artist of great presence and a singing actress whose voice proclaims a “spiritual quality.” Recently, you sang the challenging title role in Norma. Soon you return to Carnegie Hall’s mainstage to perform Beethoven's Mass in C.

As a woman for and with others, you have put to work the lessons of Ignatius on the world’s stages, in your classroom at The Hartt School of Music and behind the scenes for those in need. Your growing repertoire of leading roles is grounded in your personal mission to inspire artistic excellence and foster a deep appreciation for the cultural arts. In the Jesuit tradition, you aspire to be the best at what you do and leverage any influence that results to help others.

Your crystalline coloratura was a revelation to your Holy Cross family. We knew you first as a biology major who aspired to a career in medicine. You accompanied music majors on piano, served as a cantor, and sang with the Delilahs and the choirs. A dramatic shift in your career aspirations a year after graduation helped you to find the fullness of your voice and a fast track to your future. You redefined your career path and life’s purpose in light of your spectacular  vocal gifts. You headed to the New England Conservatory to earn a master of music degree. Along the way, you developed the confidence to bring your soaring soprano to center stage, where it belongs.

You have built a sterling reputation among conductors, musicians and performers as a well-prepared singer who brings intelligent perspectives to the music. And you have built a strong relationship with the people of Haiti, partnering with  relief groups to perform benefit concerts on behalf of the struggling island nation.

You have returned to alma mater to challenge the perfect acoustics of the Brooks Concert Hall, to inspire students to reach beyond their majors and to support our commitment to enhance cultural opportunities for all Holy Cross students, across all disciplines.

That all may know of our esteem for you and our applause for your hard-won rise to the rafters of the operatic world, your deep investment of self in teaching young performers and your generous commitment to improving lives in need of a strong voice, the College of the Holy Cross confers upon you this day the degree, Doctor of Music, honoris causa.