Shari M. Speer, soprano, is delighted to be joining the St. Olaf College community in the fall of 2022, and brings extensive singing, teaching, and conducting skills to her position in the Music Department.  The Des Moines Register described her singing as “especially effective, floating high notes of marvelous purity with apparent effortlessness.”  Speer is frequent guest artist in recital, concert and opera, including solo appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Schubert Club, St. Paul Civic Symphony, the Borderline Philharmonic (Hoot Owl Resort), Des Moines Symphony, Quad City Mozart Festival, Nashville Symphony, and Westminster Summer Sing. 

An active Twin Cities performer and conductor, Shari is Soprano Soloist and Assistant Director of Music at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis.  She is a soprano section leader with the Minnesota Chorale, under the direction of Kathy Saltzman Romey, where she sings and assists in choral preparation for performances and recordings of major orchestral works with the Minnesota Orchestra, including the Mahler Eighth Symphony (June 2022) and Mahler Third Symphony November 2022); also in tours to Caracas, Venezuela (The World Choral Symposium) and to South Africa (Music for Mandela, 2018).  With Minnesota Pop-Up Choir, she both sang and prepared the choir for a concert tour of Scotland (The Road Home, 2019) led by reknowned composer/conductor Paul Mealor.  Speer was a charter member of the (now former) Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale, under the direction of Dale Warland.

Prof. Speer holds a BME in Music Education (Augustana College, Rock Island, IL), MM in Voice Performance and Pedagogy (Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ), with post-Baccalaureate work in voice at the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities Campus.  She has participated in singing and pedagogy workshops lead by master teachers David Jones, John Wustman, Margo Garrett, Dalton Baldwin, and Richard Miller.  A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Speer has served the Minnesota Chapter many years as Student Auditions Chair, President, Secretary, and District Governor.  She has taught on the voice and choral faculties of Concordia University St. Paul, Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN), Luther College (Decorah, IA), Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) and Westminster Conservatory (Princeton, NJ). 

Shari is often called upon to assist major international artists as designated page-turner for the Saint Paul Schubert Club and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  As a faculty project in 2021-22, she designed, constructed, and hand-painted a 36-foot canvas labyrinth for the Concordia Univerisity St. Paul Chapel.  In her free time, Shari enjoys traveling, kayaking, hiking, cooking, reading, discovering labyrinths, and experimental gardening.  Prof. Speer is married to Dr. Jeffrey Stirling, artistic director and conductor of the Saint Paul Civic Symphony and the Minnetonka Orchestra.