Piercey, Sheila Kathleen

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Piercey, Sheila Kathleen

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Sheila Piercy was an opera singer, voice teacher and philanthropist, who supported aspiring artists and the performing arts in Nova Scotia and across Canada. Born on 18 November 1933 to Lilian MacKinnon and Reginald Piercy, she began singing at a young age under the tutelage of her mother. She attended Halifax Ladies College and toured with a ballet company and skating show before studying at Dalhousie University from 1951-1954, where she was active in sports and the Dalhousie Glee and Dramatic Society and King’s College Dramatic and Choral Society.

After studying voice in Halifax under Leonard Mayoh, she moved to Toronto in 1956 to take up a scholarship at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto opera program. Mentored by Ernesto Vinci, she began life as a professional soprano with the Canadian Opera Company (COC) in 1958, where she stayed for the next 13 years. In addition to her work with the COC, Sheila Piercy performed regularly on the CBC and at the Banff Centre, Stratford Festival, Rainbow Stage and Charlottetown Festival. After retiring from the COC in 1971, she moved back to Nova Scotia, and from 1977 -1982 she taught voice at Dalhousie University. She was a key supporter of Dalhousie's Performing Arts Campaign, and her gift of $1.5 million honoured some of her mentors through the naming of the Ernesto Vinci Studio and Leonard and Doris Mayoh Studio. A third studio, the Sheila K. Piercey Rehearsal Studio, provides a rehearsal space for students. She died on 20 May 2019.


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