Courtesy of Mickey Brooks
Two years ago, Mercer Singers performed at a local high school. In the audience, Mickey Brooks watched and listened, and she was immediately hooked.
As a current freshman at Mercer’s Townsend School of Music, Brooks now has a spot among the Mercer Singers vocal ensemble, where she rehearses four times a week.
“There is definitely a high standard here,” Brooks wrote in an email, “and I want to push myself beyond it.”
However, Brooks’ passion for singing did not begin with hearing Mercer Singers. Her life had already been marked and defined by music.
After watching The Phantom of the Opera in third grade, she immediately joined chorus. Brooks said that she would “sing anything on the radio” and soon realized she was meant to be a singer.
“Singing felt more natural than even talking,” Brooks said. “It felt almost instinctual.”
After just one choir rehearsal, she was sold. She continued heavily involving herself with choir, and took up private vocal lessons a few years ago.
After hearing Mercer Singers, Brooks knew Mercer University was the next step in her musical career.
“The department is amazing,” Brooks said, and “everyone is not only talented, but dedicated.”
She found that the determination and perseverance the music department thrived on matched her own, and she threw herself into her studies right from her first day.
Brooks is working on four solo pieces and was recently cast in an opera. Though the opera will be her first theatrical production, Brooks said she is excited “to get [her] feet wet” and hopes the show will “lead to more theater opportunities in the future.”
For now, Brooks’ main priority is to “nail [her] vocal technique.” She also hopes to perform at local churches and other venues and ultimately aims to perform and conduct on bigger stages.
In high school, Brooks got the chance to choose a piece of music, teach it to 60 teenagers and conduct them in a live performance. Though she admits it was terrifying at first, she gradually learned to love the teaching process as she noticed her students enjoying the music.
Before the performance, the nerves came back, but once the song began, Brooks remembers “it was like [she] had stepped into the eye of a hurricane.” The next moment, the audience was applauding.
“That experience made me want to be a choral director,” Brooks wrote.
Currently, she’s majoring in music education, but she is also considering a degree in vocal performance. She plans to become a high school choir director before possibly going back to school for a master’s degree and teaching at a collegiate level. Through it all, she wants to keep performing and traveling.
When asked what her favorite part about the rehearsal and performance process was, Brooks said it’s more about the way singing feels. She struggled to describe it and knows “every singer feels it, but it’s completely different from person to person.” It’s this indescribable passion that drives Mickey Brooks to work hard and succeed in her musical endeavors. Hers is a career already over a decade in the making, and she has plenty more yet ahead.
“As long as I am onstage for the rest of my life,” Brooks said, “I’ll be happier than I could ever dream.”