Shannon Lambert-Ryan ’03 - Alumni Achievement in the Arts - Musical Performance
From Sarah Leonhardt on September 25th, 2018
Shannon Lambert-Ryan ’03
Alumni Achievement in the Arts - Musical Performance
Muhlenberg gave Shannon Lambert-Ryan the opportunity to pursue her love of performance and, in
doing so, pave a path to her career and a family. Muhlenberg vocal instructor Jeremy Slavin predicted
her success as a musician and singer during coaching sessions. He was among the professors who
influenced Lambert-Ryan’s development and fostered a work ethic that emphasizes the love of the
whole process and not just the end prize.
A call from a Muhlenberg friend took her to Boston after graduation, where she landed a vocal
position with folk music group the Guy Mendilow Ensemble. This gig led her to performing Irish
music and introduced her to her future husband, Fionan de Barra, a musician, producer and
collaborator who hails from Dublin, Ireland.
Lambert-Ryan has performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington,
D.C., and The Royal Albert Hall in London, making her mark as a musician and performer in the ranks
of folk performers such as Dylan, Seeger, Baez and Guthrie. For a decade, the theatre and history
major has been manager and lead singer of Runa, a Celtic music group that she cofounded, which
combines traditional music of Ireland and Scotland with modern music such as folk and jazz.
Lambert-Ryan describes her life as “magical.” “How lucky I am that I love what I am doing and who I
am doing it with,” she says.
Muhlenberg choir, chamber singers and opera all contributed to Shannon’s successes, which include
Irish Music Awards for Top Group and Top Traditional Group in 2014 and Best World/Traditional Song
at the Independent Music Awards in 2014 and 2016.
However, she cites her greatest accomplishment as the birth of her child, Liam, born in May 2018.