Nugent, of Ruston, was appointed after serving four years as assistant director and nine months as interim director. She earned the status of "certified director" from the international office of Sweet Adelines in March 2010, following a rigorous course of study and examinations.
Chorus President Carol Ogle, of Monroe, said, "Sheila’s experience both as an educator and as a student serve her well to direct the chorus. She is taking advantage of every opportunity to advance in the skill of directing, and she is able to teach ladies with all levels of musical experience."
Nugent works as curriculum strategist at Simsboro High School and plans to graduate from Louisiana Tech with her doctorate in education this summer.
Concerning her appointment, Nugent said:
"As a director, I get the unbelievable opportunity to guide this group of amazing women to make beautiful music, and during that journey, I have formed friendships with women of all ages, with whom I can laugh, cry, pray and count on. I am very blessed."Nugent said her goals include scoring well at regional competition, which is a way that choruses measure their musical aptitude annually. "But," she added, "my long-range plans focus more on performance and education. I want other people to be made aware of this fabulous art form." She plans for the chorus to do more to educate the public about barbershop and music in general, to perform more in public, and to provide more classes on barbershop or singing overall.
Nugent has been a member of Sweet Adelines for eight years. Prior leadership experience in the chorus includes serving as president of the board of directors and membership on the choreography, showmanship and script committees. Other musical experience includes singing in high school and church choirs, playing the piano and being a member of three barbershop quartets.
When comparing the music that Sweet Adelines sing to other forms of music, Nugent said:
"To me, barbershop is a richer, more emotional style of music than other music that I’ve performed, due to the fact that the singers are not relying on anything other than their own vocal ability. Just like instruments, voices and individual parts can add dimension to music that is breath-taking."Nugent has a great affection for the Sweet Adelines organization. "One of the things that I love about Sweet Adelines International," she said, "is that through a shared love of music, women from all walks of life, from all life experiences, from all musical experiences, can come together to create incredible harmony."
If anyone is contemplating joining the chorus, Nugent said, "I would say to them, 'Come on in!' … (T)he great thing about barbershop is that you don’t have to read music or have a lot of singing experience. If you love to sing and if you have an ear for music, then that’s all you need. In return, you gain courage, strength and confidence, along with fabulous friendships. What could be better?"
Nugent invites area residents to the chorus' annual show, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Dixie Center for the Performing Arts.
Titled "Rock Around the Clock," the event will spotlight Elvis tribute artist Todd C. Martin, of Monroe, as special guest performer. Music from the '50s, '60s and '70s will be featured, along with chorus comedy skits from "I Love Lucy," "Laugh In" and more. A portion of the proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. For additional information call Nugent at (318) 251-4095.