Central High School grad wins Grammy for best classical solo vocal album

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Sunday was a big night for one Central High School graduate.

Sarah Brailey, Class of 2000, won the Grammy for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.

Her album, Smyth: The Prison, was one of five nominated.

Two of her friends and a well-known artist she learned about in high school were in the same category.

Because of the pandemic, she couldn’t fly out to L.A. to accept her award in person, so she did it virtually from her home.

The piece Brailey recorded was originally written by the late Dame Ethel Smyth, a British composer and women’s suffrage activist.

Being released in 2020, the centennial of the United State’s 19th Amendment – in addition to the civil activism seen across the nation this past year, Brailey said the album feels relevant to the world we live in right now.

“This piece by Dame Ethel Smyth was another reason to celebrate female strength and perseverance – which she was a really great example of,” Brailey said Monday.

She said the person who really inspired her to pursue music is Central High School choir teacher, Mike Esser.

They even talked Sunday night after she won.

Brailey now lives in Madison and is finishing up her doctorate degree.

She’s also working for a locally owned business right here in La Crosse called Choral Tracks, which was started by Aquinas grad Matthew Curtis.