“Mia Mianulli” and Her Final Year at Nashoba


Nashoba Regional High School’s Concert Choir

Alicia Burrows, Editor in Chief

Mrs. Susan Mianulli brings smiles to high-schoolers faces every day. She has been a teacher in Nashoba’s music program for 21 years and sadly, this year will be her last. Mia, as her students call her, combines music, education, and fun and brings them into the lives of Nashoba’s students. She has taught many classes over the years including Intro to Guitar, Intro to Piano, Best Buddies Choir, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and Broadway Women’s Choir.

While Mia is teaching a significant number of classes now, she didn’t teach as many when she first arrived at Nashoba.

Mia says, “When I started [teaching], we had one huge choir of one hundred thirty kids. I had four sections of about thirty kids in a section.”

The oversized choir created problems. Many students were moving at different paces, and they weren’t singing harmoniously. Mia resolved this problem by breaking the choir into smaller groups after about four years of teaching. The number of males in the choirs has also changed since Mia began working at Nashoba.

She reminisces about having “a lot more guys back then, and a lot of football players too.”

Mia has received a thrill out of being a teacher. When asked why she chose to teach high schoolers, she almost immediately replied: “You! The kids! That’s the best part of the job! I have been utterly amazed over the years. Particularly, when I have a student from their freshman year to their senior year and they get up there and sing their senior solo; I never would have thought it possible from how they sang their freshman year… and then they just stand up there and do it so beautifully and confidently… that right there is the thrill of my life, the thrill of being a teacher to see that.” Mia’s love for her students is undying and everlasting. Hence why she has been teaching for so many years.

“You make me happy,” she says. “A good part of the time. I just love your energy and your willingness to explore. I just think there are wonderful kids at this school and from my very first interview back in 1994 that’s what struck me… how nice the students were. I couldn’t believe it! I’m here because of the kids.”

When Mia commented on what made her most proud of her students, tears sparkled in her eyes. “The sense that when you guys step up to the plate and really do your best you can really see the enthusiasm on your faces, how involved you are with the music, and knowing that I got through to all of you, those are thrilling moments for me,” she said. “The fact that you’re all working together for the same goal and producing something bigger than yourselves makes me so proud of you.”

For as much as Mia loves her students, her students love her too. They love how relaxed she is, how open and safe the choir room feels, and how no one has to be afraid to express her feelings. Freshman Abby Recko says: “Just coming into choir [makes my day better], because my school day is pretty hectic and I’m always working and being busy. But coming into choir? All the stress is gone and we can just sing and relax and have fun. It’s by far my favorite class because Mia is there.” Sophomore Hannah Honig agrees: “she just makes your day brighter.”

All of Mia’s students will miss her dearly after she leaves. The Nashoba Concert Choir agrees that they will miss her passion for what she does, her caring nature, and her undeniable energy and enthusiasm. Senior Lish Ventura comments that “her quirks and everything she does in Concert Choir just lift it up.”

Even though Mia’s time teaching will soon be coming to an end, she plans to keep music in her life for the entirety of it. She has a private in home studio where she has one-on-one vocal lessons and she also hopes to sing professionally once again. Mia hopes that Nashoba’s choirs will continue to grow and improve as time goes on, and that her students will keep their love of music in their lives forever.

Sadly, Mia will be officially leaving Nashoba at the end of the school year. By the time she retires, she will have directed 63 concerts. Her last concert will be on May 15th which will be filled with love, longing, and appreciation of Nashoba’s time with Mia. Her last wish is that “every student leaves here and continues singing. Your voice is portable. You carry your instrument with you and that’s what I think is so wonderful about singing.”