It all started when...
I began my study of music at an early age. My training started with violin, piano, musicianship and performance at the Crestmont Conservatory of Music in San Mateo when I was a young child. My parents were extremely supportive and always offered opportunities that enriched our childhood At the time, there weren't any vocal instructors on the faculty, so the conservatory hired a young woman named Elizabeth Appling to start a young children's choir. I joined and sang under her tutelage for the next several years.
Elizabeth Appling was asked by Kurt Herbert Adler to form a girl's chorus so that young girls could be offered the opportunity to sing children's roles with the San Francisco Opera. The San Francisco Girls Chorus was born, and Elizabeth asked me and one other girl to join from her Crestmont group. The original concert group of the chorus consisted of 27 members, and from there, the world of opera was opened to me and the seed of what is now a regional center for music education and performance for girls and young women was planted. More than 400 singers from 45 Bay Area cities participate in this internationally recognized program, deemed a model in the country for training girls' voices' by the California Arts Council.
I spent the next 4 years going to San Francisco twice a week for rehearsals and concerts. I became the 2nd soprano section leader and sang in the children's chorus with the SF Opera in their productions of Otello, Werther, La Boheme, Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci. It was an incredible thrill to meet and actually sing on stage with singers like Placido Domingo, Ileana Cotrubus, Kathleen Battle, Samual Ramey and other amazing artists. I was given the opportunity to sing lead roles in several chorus productions, including Hansel & Gretel & Princess Ida. I started formal voice training with Annette Cairo at the conservatory and was named the first alumna upon graduating from the chorus.
Through High School I began singing with a women's chamber singers group called Treble Clef. This group began in the 1940's under the direction of Otis M. Carrington, and was led by Jay Selby. In addition to singing, I also studied the violin and was active in the high school orchestra. I was named concertmistress at the CMEA All-State Orchestra under the direction of the late Denis De Coteau (Music Director of the San Francisco Ballet) and the following year. I competed in the Cal-Western Regional NATS Competition. I took home 5 command performances in solo violin, solo voice, two duet performances and one in The Treble Clef. Upon graduation I received the Otis M. Carrington Music Scholarship, in addition to the Rotary Club Scholarship for Voice.
The next musical pursuit for me after the chorus was auditioning for the newly formed San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra under the direction of Jahja Ling. My brother Tim and I traveled to San Francisco every Saturday for 3 years to attend the 4 hour rehearsals. I played 2nd violin, while Tim played timpani/percussion. I'll never forget the first rehearsal playing through Haydn's London Symphony and Dvorak's 8th Symphony. I was SOOOO lost! This was real repertoire. It took many hours of practice, but eventually it paid off and we were exposed to some fabulous works.
This was an amazing experience since we had so many guest clinicians and conductors from
around the world (Isaac Stern and Michael Tilson-Thomas to name a few) and I feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity.
I decided to head off to Indiana University. There I studied voice with Carlos Montane and Lila Stuart and sang in several ensembles including the women's chorus and the opera chorus. I loved performing with the IU Opera Theater and I knew I wanted to be a part of that world. It was a competitive school...sometimes the cattle call auditions would hold several hundred singers, but I saw some amazing performances by some very talented performers (Joshua Bell, Heidi Grant-Murphy and many others). I was still a very young singer and didn't have a solid technique yet, but I held my own. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in vocal performance and German.
Upon returning home to the Bay area I decided to enroll in the San Jose State University Opera program, pursue my Masters in vocal performance and study with the late Jeanne Garson. She was a wonderful mentor, always inspiring her students to work towards vocal artistry. From there, I became a member of the Opera San Jose chorus and began performing locally. I was then hired to sing at a Palo Alto church and I met a talented young accompanist by the name of Daniel Hughes...we quickly formed a lasting friendship, as Daniel and I performed in many recitals, competitions and auditions.
After finishing my MA at San Jose, I flew to Austria to compete in my first International Vocal Competition, focusing on the art songs of Schubert and the 20th Century. It was an amazing experience and I received some invaluable information from the judges that I continue to use today. Unfortunately, we learned of Jeanne Garson's passing while overseas, so while the experience was wonderful, it was also bittersweet.
After returning, I found my present vocal teacher, Pamela Fry and have been studying with her for the past several years. She is a fabulous coloratura, has a diverse understanding of classical and musical theater technique and her ability to mold vocal potential is unsurpassed. Under her tutelage, I feel fortunate to continue my career singing opera roles, oratorio and other solo opportunities . I am blessed to have had so many wonderful experiences that have shaped the person I am today, and look forward to many more years of musical growth.