FEATURED IN: Hard to Handel
Cass Panuska (Soprano) is a classical singer and voice teacher: I’ve always loved music, and singing has been a passion of mine my whole life. I was fortunate to grow up in a small community where the traditions of storytelling and music-making run deep. As a child, I would go to ceilidhs – parties – and the live music would prompt everyone in the room to jump up and step dance or square dance, joining in the fun. I’ve kept this love and joy of music with me as I’ve studied classical singing and embarked on my own professional performing and teaching career. I consider myself lucky to have experienced this kind of musical spontaneity and interactive enjoyment from a young age. My teaching philosophy is based on these early life experiences, fostering students’ love of music while helping each person’s investigation of possibility as a whole performer.
For many years, my home base was the San Francisco Bay Area, where I enjoyed singing as a soloist with many professional organizations such as Berkeley Opera, Opera San Jose’s Outreach Program, Opera Frontier, Pocket Opera, Goat Hall Productions, and Solo Opera. One of my favorite life experiences has been performing amidst the natural wonders of Yosemite National Park in winter with the renowned Bracebridge Dinner Theatre. Another project I loved taking part in was recording two pieces for “The Life Before Us,” a CD of new compositions produced by Parma Recordings on their Navona Records label. I am also a passionate recitalist, organizing and performing a program of American selections with my husband, Baritone Torlef Borsting, as part of a cross-country tour while moving from California to Florida in an Airstream Trailer. I learn so much from these widely varying, challenging, and exciting opportunities.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Music at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and my Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Colorado State University. While studying in Colorado, I made wonderful friends as a church choir section leader at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. A member of NATS, I taught voice and piano at Pleasanton, California’s New World Music Academy for five years before making my recent move to the Southeast.
I currently live in Deland, Florida with my husband and two young boys, where I own and operate Banana Street Voice Studio and sing whenever I get the chance. I am co-soloist at First Church of Christ, Scientist in Daytona Beach, and other upcoming performances include concerts with Bel Canto Singers of Daytona and First Coast Opera in St. Augustine.