As a non-traditional student Donna Janusko had a more extensive time in vocal training and pedagogical issues. Almost ten years older than most undergrads, and in a time when older musicians were rarer as incoming students, she found that the traditional track would in some ways be closed to her, particularly in the NATS Competitions and also in Grants available for Grad Schools. Nevertheless, her vocal coach Dale Moore, former president of NATS, encouraged her to continue graduate studies at Ohio State University. Donna first trained as a vocal pedagogist, and then entered the performance track for two additional years. During these five years she did extensive studies in Alexander Technique, Anatomy and Physiology, and Methodologies, working alongside Doctoral students in peer review of teaching techniques. She also became a member of NATS as a teacher and of The Voice Foundation [an association of singing teachers, speech therapists and laryngologists based in NY, Philadelphia and California], which further developed her diagnostic tools.
Her teaching tenure at two colleges in the Mid-West honed her skills in the studio. She continued performing in opera at Ohio State University, chorus work in Cleveland Opera, and professional choral/solo work in the Robert Page/Cleveland Singers, under founding member and president of Chorus America, Robert Page.
Two more experiences finalized formal training. Ms. Janusko was an Artist Diploma Fellow studying and performing in Opera and Art Song at Carnegie Mellon where she worked with English bass-baritone John Shirley-Quirk CBE for two years, resulting in three opera roles and a two-hour final recital in German Art Song with Orchestra.
The second experience was at AIMS in Graz, Austria. She was chosen for several solo performances, two with orchestra, and was introduced to Stage Director Bodo Igesz (Met Opera) who suggested that Donna move to New York, nearer auditions, but also allow her to remain in the States to be available for her parents and large family. She and her husband finally moved to Lehigh Valley where she became a member of the Muhlenberg faculty.