Theatre teacher releases first music video


Submitted Photo

Theatre teacher, Celeste Schneider, sings in her first music video to the song “I Never Knew.”

Dayna Ung, Staff Reporter

She awkwardly climbed up the rocky hill with blisters forming in her stylish, but definitely not broken-in, boots. While catching her breath in between laughs and self-consciously looking back to notice the people watching the spectacle, beads of sweat formed, and she wondered how her fake eyelashes were still on. She clambered up to the top, mustered her best acting skills, and lip synced to her own voice as the camera pointed in her direction.

Theatre teacher Celeste Schneider has loved music from a young age and always dreamed of a career in country music. Schneider’s love for country music began when she was 12 at a Garth Brooks and Martina McBride concert. From then on, she sang anywhere and everywhere from middle to high school and even went to college at Belmont University to study music. After a long break from writing music, Schneider has started creating music videos for all her songs. She has just recently released her first music video titled “I Never Knew”, and it can be found on her Youtube channel, “Celeste Vannoy Music”.

“Country music is just storytelling,” Schneider said. “And that’s what I love to do. I love to write my own music, and have my brother co-write with me.”

She said that although her mom was her biggest fan and her brother was an amazing co writer, she credits her dad for being the greatest influence in her love for music. Schneider admires her dad, who has passed away, and even named her Youtube channel to honor him, as “Vannoy” is her dad’s last name.

“It’s funny, because there are a lot of parents in the world who don’t support their kids’ dreams of being in the arts,” Schneider said. “That’s not all parents, but there are some. But my dad, he was the opposite. When I thought about not doing music and doing a ‘regular’ career, he was the first to say no, that this is what I was going to do. So he was definitely number one.”

After studying music at Belmont University, she stopped pursuing music for about 20 years. During a typical school year because of production rehearsals, Schneider doesn’t have as much free time to dedicate to her music. 

“Well, sadly, COVID has caused us to have to scale way back on our productions in theatre due to safety and budget,” Schneider said. “I just do music on weekends and any extra time I can find. Due to COVID, there is a little more time for that right now.”

Recently, her passion for music was sparked again by her creative director, Jessica Madden.Together, they began planning to take her nearly 300 songs and turn them into music videos. Even with the large number of songs she has written, she admitted that writing music comes with its own challenges.

“I think of all the songs I’ve written, the biggest challenge to writing music is just being honest,” Schneider said. “While it sounds simple, you don’t want it to be too forced. Some of my best songs that I’ve written are songs that just came from my heart. My two albums that I have are 10 years of my life that I’ve lived, with the exception of some made up stories. But most of them are from my heart and things I’ve lived through.”

Schneider and Madden are putting their heart into each song as they work towards creating concepts in each music video that accurately portrays the song. They plan to post about two music videos each month on Schneider’s Youtube channel. The goal is to reach 1,000 subscribers in order to do live performances. Schneider said that seeing the finished product for “I Never Knew” is rewarding because her dad always loved a particular line in it and she appreciates how far she has come because of him.

“My dad always loved that song because of one line where I admitted he was smart,” Schneider said. “My father, who I cry every time I talk about, I just love him so much. He was the biggest because when I was 12 and I wanted to do music, he jumped on it, and he literally just loved my music.”

Although Schneider is proud of her first music video, she is even more thrilled to release her upcoming music video to her song, “From a Woman to a Girl.” She said she can’t wait for her audience to watch it when it hits her Youtube channel some time over winter break.

“This next one is going to be super fun!” Schneider said. “We’re going to have a tea set and I’ll be in a big dress, and it’s like we’re spilling the tea as I tell you all of this advice. It’ll be really fun! I’m just really eager about this song coming out because I wrote this song for my students.”

Schneider said that the best part about music is seeing how people can relate to her. She said that she just got a message from her friend in high school about how one of her songs helped her through a hard time.

“My favorite part is seeing music that comes out of my head and heart,” Schneider said. “And to see people singing along to your songs and also their reactions. It’s weird how many people can identify with my songs. I mean, music brings us all together and I love to see songs that touch people that I didn’t even know would matter to them.”

Schneider has learned a lot through her experiences writing music and following her passion. With her many years of learning and growing, she has a lot of advice to give.

“I think my biggest advice is to just never stop dreaming and be true to whatever kind of art form you do, whether that is music or not,” Schneider said. “And for all of the older people, it’s never too late to start, and it’s okay to start over. But mostly, you can always start something any day, whatever day you want to, learn anything, at any age.”