Welcome Program Manager Sophie Wingland
We met Sophie through the Lyric Opera Chicago Voices program. She told us she was inspired by our work and we were equally impressed with her, and as Sophie says, “the rest is history!” And not a moment too soon -- she is helping us with our new and existing program sites as HHH continues to add new partners. Here’s a bit more about Sophie, in her own words.
"Hello! I’m Sophie Wingland and I’m overjoyed to be joining Harmony, Hope and Healing as the program manager. I spent the last few months working part time for HHH and was so amazed by the impact of the work and the calm that settles around all of the music sessions.
I am very excited about the wide variety of work that HHH is involved with. I know that no day will ever be the same as the last! This makes me feel right at home!
I am a musician, music teacher, producer, yoga & meditation teacher and clown. I have always loved being versatile, but never thought I’d find a position that would allow me to use ALL of my skills and passions at the same time!
I have always been a curious musician. I started singing with a children’s choir when I was 6 and never stopped! I also enjoy playing cello, upright bass, hang and kettle drums, kalimba, any toy instruments I can get my hands on and making instruments out of found objects.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice from Oberlin Conservatory ‘08, a Master’s degree in Vocal Arts from University of Southern California ‘11, Thornton School, and a Master’s degree in New Audiences and Innovative Practice from the Royal Conservatory of Music, The Hague, Netherlands ‘15.
I have performed in operas and as a concert artist across the US and have been fortunate that my music has allowed me to travel and perform in Italy,France, the UK, the Netherlands and Iceland.
Using music as a healing and restorative practice has been of interest to me for quite a while. When I was 14, I had a sports-related back injury and began doing yoga to help heal from it. At the same time, I was starting to take formal voice lessons and beginning to understand my body as a musical instrument.
Blending yoga poses and breath work with the new singing exercises I was learning only seemed natural. As I went through college and graduate school, I leaned more on the spiritual and meditative aspects of yoga to help manage stress and stay grounded.
When I started teaching private voice lessons, I found myself talking about posture, breath and focus from a yogic point of view rather than from a purely musical standpoint. I decided it was time to dig deeper into my own yoga practice and its connection to my musician-self.
I received my 200-hour teaching certification from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in 2011. Throughout my training, I realized that by using music (chanting, singing or listening) I could let myself sink deeper into meditation. This started to change the way I looked at music within my own life. It wasn’t simply “something I did and studied.” It became a powerful tool that allowed me to feel… more ME.
Since then, I have been eagerly searching out different ways to use music to encourage personal growth, healing and healthy social-emotional skills. When I was living in the Netherlands, I led corporate workshops on body language and communication skills, facilitated several projects for high school students focused on self-expression, and made experimental instruments with a group of amazing 4 and 5 year olds.
I moved to Chicago in April 2015 and have had many exciting opportunities to teach, perform and get involved. In the summer of 2015 and 2016, I was the camp leader for the 4-6 year old summer arts camp at Old Town School of Folk Music. I was a teaching artist with Ravinia, working with Kindergarten through 3rd grade students from Hearst Elementary School and also taught privately.
One of my favorite experiences since moving here? For a wonderful organization called Mindful Practices, I travelled around to eight schools across the city and taught yoga classes that blended music, meditation and yoga poses to teach de-escalation techniques and mindfulness.
In that role, I will never forget the time a student came up to me in the hallway before class and said, “Miss Sophie, I got really mad at my brother this weekend and so I took a deep breath and hummed just like you showed me. My brother asked what I was doing, so I taught him too!”
This position is like a dream come true. I have been welcomed with so much warmth and I can’t wait to see where we all go together!"
- Sophie Wingland