Sparta graduate follows her dream

Jody Mullen sings at NJPAC


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  • Sparta graduate Jody Mullen.




  • Jody Mullen at the Sparta High School prom with, her now husband, Gary.




“Follow your dream” is advice that all Sparta High School graduates hear at one time or another. Jody Mullen followed hers all the way to the stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, where she sang solo for the St. Joseph’s Charity Ball on Oct. 19.

Mullen sang such timeless favorites as “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “Till There was You,” and “When I Fall in Love.” The charity ball supports St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.

Sparta roots

A member of SHS’s 2000 graduating class, Mullen has also performed with the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble in New York for the past two years, including roles in ‘Die Zauberfloete’ and ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites,’ as well as several off-off-Broadway shows such as ‘The Most Happy Fella,’ and a series of chamber music recitals sponsored by The Julliard School.

Mullen’s acclaimed soprano voice lends itself to the well-known classics and popular show tunes collectively known as The Great American Songbook, which includes works by Rogers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and others.

Some of the seeds of Mullen’s success were sown with the support she received while growing up in Sparta.

“Our chorus teacher in Junior High, Karen Scott, gave me voice lessons privately,” she says. “She believed in me and made me feel that I had the talent to do what I wanted to do.”

She also credits Sparta English teacher Andrew Lowery and especially former Marching Band Director Deborah Prudenti Gianuzzi.

“She (Gianuzzi) gave us a place where we could be excited about our music,” says Mullen, who currently resides in Hoboken.

Mullen’s favorite memory of Sparta is meeting her now-husband, Gary Oeters, while walking around the track in gym class. The couple has been married for four years now and has a son, Andrew, born this past January. Andrew was born at St. Joseph’s, and when the obstetric staff became aware of Mullen’s vocation, they insisted on a demonstration.

“They had me sing on the operating table!” exclaims Mullen with a smile, noting that her voice understandably wasn’t in top form at the time.

For hopeful vocalists looking to begin their careers, Mullen offers sound advice.

“Work really hard, and get a private voice teacher. Sing music that you really love, not what others tell you to sing.”

And most of all, don’t be disappointed.

“Everybody gets disheartening comments,” adds Mullen. “Shake them off; ignore them. Stay true to your dream.”

Mullen’s schedule, though clear at the moment while she savors new motherhood, can be viewed on her web site at www.jodymullen.com.




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