Featured Alumni

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Alumni stories — they're countless…fascinating, inspiring, moving. All different…but each revealing a glimpse of our common experience at St. Pius X High School. True to the rich tradition of Catholic education, St. Pius X provides a spiritual framework focused on faith, values, and service.

Extraordinary. Inspiring. Diverse. Our alumni have some of the most fascinating stories to tell and we are always honored to share their accomplishments and achievements. Here we will feature a collection of their inspiring stories and reflections. Check back occasionally to see updated and new featured stories on our alumni and the impact SPX has had on their lives and the communities we serve.

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 Jennifer Johnson Cano

Jennifer Johnson Cano

“When I got here I loved to sing and make music, but not in front of people. It was Mr. McCrery who encouraged me to sing solos, sing at Mass and in state competitions.  And I never got a 1 rating in those competitions! I guess the lesson is to keep trying.” (On how her interest in music grew while at St. Pius X.)

Ms. Cano has now made over 100 appearances at The Metropolitan Opera in roles ranging from Hansel in Hansel and Gretel to Emilia in Otello and from Meg Page in Falstaff to Wellgunde in Das Rheingold. She has also recently sung with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times has cheered, “Dramatic intelligence and imagination suffused every note of Ms. Johnson Cano’s performance. Endowed with an attention-grabbing dark mezzo, its depths bracing like strong coffee, she seems to thrive in the role of a storyteller.” Opera News has called her “a mesmerizing actress… she allows emotion to propel her voice into glorious moments.” The Boston Globe praised “her voice is radiant and intense… the effect was devastating.”

Before her rise to international opera renown, she called St. Louis home, growing up in Festus, MO. While attending St. Pius X High School, she participated in OTSL’s Spring Training Vocal camp, part of the Monsanto Artists-in-Training program. Later, as a music student at Webster University, she spent summers as an usher OTSL before ultimately auditioning for the company’s highly selective Gerdine Young Artist (GYA) program. In 2008, after winning The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions while an OTSL GYA, Ms. Cano stepped in for another singer to take on the role of Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffman at the last minute, which earned her rave reviews from local and national press. In June, she will make her title role debut in her hometown in Gluck’s ravishing and romantic Orfeo & Euridice.