St. Bernard Prep Hires Director of Fine Arts

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St. Bernard

CULLMAN – St. Bernard President, Fr. Joel Martin is pleased to announce Joshua Agnew will be the Director of Fine Arts, a newly created position at St. Bernard Prep School

Agnew comes to St. Bernard with aspirations of building and revitalizing the Fine Arts Department to include such things as an orchestra, choir, and band for middle and high school students.

At the early age of 12 years old, Agnew developed a love of music through his middle band program in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. Jokingly he said he started in band where it was cool to play drums and not sing. In 7th grade his choir teacher encouraged him to take band and choir; so, he gave it a shot and really enjoyed singing. From high school Agnew earned his Bachelor of Music in Sacred Music and Voice from the highly acclaimed Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and completed his Master’s Degree in Music Education at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

During his college years, he performed at such prestigious venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, NYC, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C., Agnew has proven to be a man of many talents. He sings in Latin, German, Italian, and French, as well as other languages.

While Josh still considers himself a transplant to the Cullman area, he considers it his home. Josh came to Cullman with his wife in 2006 where he worked construction and third shift at a local plant. He realized he needed to follow his dream of music and decided to become proactive in the community. His voiced landed him a position at Cullman High School where he has spent the past eight years following his passion for teaching music, while encouraging students to gain a sense of community through their own love of music.

His enthusiasm is contagious. Agnew said he is thankful for the opportunity to share his faith with his students. Helping them to grow in their faith through the fine arts is very important to him.

“I look forward to getting to know the students personally and to show them the value of what it means to become a well- rounded person which includes study in the fine arts. Nothing encompasses the whole person; mind, body, and spirit more than the fine arts. Our faith is a pillar of education, and in music you can experience the faith. It’s more than just words. It is my hope students will grow in faith just by their exposure to great music, and through creating that same music.”

“Add to that the beautiful Abbey Church where sound resonates. I can’t wait to get started,” smiled Agnew.

Students new to singing who are just willing to make a sound are the beginning of developing a good choir. Shaking his head, Agnew said, “I don’t believe in tone deafness. If one is willing to work, I am willing to teach. Add to that the students who already have developed abilities and we will have an amazing choral program! There is a level of humility involved, but at the same time I can recognize their abilities and know what I can do for them if they are willing to go for it!
St. Bernard promotes a love of learning and a life of virtue to students through academics and scholarship. “We want to be the performing arts center of Cullman and are very excited to host the SATB Choir Auditions at St. Bernard Prep for the Alabama Vocal Association on November 13-14.” 

Agnew and his wife, Corrie have five children and reside in Hanceville. They currently attend church at Christ the King Monastery in Simcoe where he cantors in Latin, teaches choir, and sings at Mass every week.