Senior Spotlight: Vivian Cao



If you’ve ever been to an Enloe Chorus concert in the past 4 years, chances are you’ve probably seen Vivian Cao (Cao as in ‘Ga-ow’, not ‘cow’). You’ll find her third row, stage left, or, in the case of a Crescenloe performance, dropping a beat centerstage. Her versatility makes Vivian one of the most successful musicians in the Enloe arts department. Some of her many accomplishments include being a three-year resident of Chamber Choir, a freshman Advanced Trebles Ensemble prodigy, a Crescenloe Music Director, the Chorus Student Director, and she has been ranked among the top 10 high school Alto 1’s in the state of North Carolina. Should you ever get the chance to meet Vivian in person, you’ll see she’s just as impressive in her character as she is on paper.

Vivian has been a lifelong musician, starting on the piano and violin in elementary school. Her journey in singing began the way it does for most of us: “I discovered it one day when I was singing slow hands, and my cousin was like, “Woah, you can sing.” Since then, Vivian has been in school choir for five years, and has been selected for prestigious choral music opportunities including NC Governor’s School and a 2-time NC Honors Chorus member (the highest honor an NC choral student can achieve.) As any musician knows, the love for music must run deep to be so successful. In her own words, “The best way for me to describe it is that music is the key piece in an intricate jigsaw puzzle. Without that piece, the puzzle looks bare, empty…”


After being in chorus for five years – with a minor blip coming in the form of freshman-year basketball tryouts, almost stealing her away from us – Ms. Hallihan, Enloe Chorus teacher, selected Vivian to be her Student Conductor. Vivian’s favorite part of the job? The freshmen. “It really brings me hope…seeing the freshmen and the way they respect each other and love each other…” This idea of human decency alongside musicianship is a pillar of Enloe’s choir program, and one that Vivian so clearly embodies. Having her in the chorus room any day means having someone you can depend on. Ms. Hallihan cites this as what makes Vivian such a wonderful student conductor: “I knew that she could do [student conducting], I’m just more grateful that she is doing it – I need people like Vivian to do the things I do and do it well.” 

When Vivian is not knee-deep in her choral escapades, you’ll find her leading a Crescenloe rehearsal, hanging out with her anxious, asthmatic, and allergy-prone pup, Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino, or in the pursuit of some athletic activity. After adventures in ballet and volleyball (and most other sports thanks to her father), Vivian has taken on a new form of fitness: yoga. After making it her New Year’s resolution, Vivian has done yoga every day for the past 10 months. What started as a hobby to get back into fitness has become a lifestyle. She insisted on pointing out that “it looks different every day…I count it as a day of yoga if I take the time to take care of myself.” Alongside this, Vivian is pushing herself to try out weightlifting, much to the excitement of Ms. Hallihan, a former athlete herself. “I didn’t know that she was into weightlifting, which is just so cool…it helps me see a little bit of myself in her, too.” 


Leaving Enloe this year, Vivian leaves behind a legacy of kindness, drive, and passion. When asked about Vivian, Amani Clark, senior and fellow alto, said, “I can see her hard work ethic every day… I can tell that she really cares about what she does…she’s a truly kind friend and individual.” Josie Milner, senior and Crescenloe Music Director adds, “She just wants everyone to do their best, so she does her best… she wants to make everyone feel included.” No doubt influenced by Ms. Hallihan, Vivian is inspired by her to be “the amazing teacher that [Ms. Hallihan] is for the next generation of young musicians.” Her goals beyond the walls of Enloe High include studying music education and aiming for a master’s degree in conducting. Until then, perhaps you’ll find Vivian conducting Concert Choir onstage, leading Crescenloe in the atrium after school, or going out of her way to brighten someone’s day.