top of page

Honor the Creativity that has Sustained You

I’ve been on a journey to redefine what I do and how I do it. Music, yes. And teaching? Absolutely. Gardening is my latest segue in my creative outlets. It may not seem necessary in the scope of professional matters, and perhaps you think it doesn’t serve a place here on a singing and teaching blog. But, here’s the thing: My desires in life are to fill my cup with beauty and meaning. I need to serve the greater good and I do it with my creative energy, positive work, and learning. A hobby doesn’t have to sit by and waste if I can share it.

We are never indeed just one thing. You see, my journey as a singer is ever-evolving. Once a favored flavor of the month for many regional companies and a frequent guest of revered A houses, I am now a seasoned professional with 20 years and 50+roles behind me. No longer the go-to top three on the casting lists of houses, but I’m in my prime vocally, and I understand my voice and why I express with it. I still have contracts, just not as many as before. Not having a consistent outlet for my expression because of erratic changes in the industry, evolving casting choices, and getting older in the business, I began the vocation of teaching. It is a path I knew even as a young girl I would one day undertake. It’s in giving back to the next generation that I find much of my satisfaction at this moment, especially in the dry times of the performance arena during this Pandemic.

To add a third component to an already saturated creative life might seem ludicrous if not downright opulent and, to some, considerably distracting. And perhaps I will come to see this as another one of my forlorn journeys. After all, I have dabbled over the years in screenwriting, on-camera acting, voiceover, nonprofit development, web design, and floral design. I often dreamed of becoming a writer with a pen name, although I’ve been horrible at developing a consistent writing practice. But I can’t stop myself. Any unscheduled dates from singing have always needed to be filled with learning and growth.

And flowers? I started working in a flower shop when I was twelve years old and I put myself through college as a flower designer. I’m coming full circle, and my attitude of what is allowed to be expressed and revealed as an income stream has changed.

After two years of searching for the right spot to land in a career that would either correlate with my singing and teaching or offer a door to an entirely new path, I realized I was looking at it altogether wrong. They will often tell you to put your eggs in one basket when it comes to a career. "Don’t’ do too many things", they say, or else people will get confused. This message infiltrates even in how you present yourself within a career choice. For instance, we’ve all heard, “Don’t sing a large variety of musical styles, stick to one, especially if you are a classical singer. I had no better example than when I did my CD recording with Jake Heggie and Ricky Ian Gordon. My European managers confidently dismissed the recording as unusable because they couldn’t’ wrap their heads around my ability and desire to sing that type of music as well as the Bell Song from Lakmé. The classical music industry has been rife with the message of being one type of singer for years. Who can forget the strife and condemnation of numerous famous singers when they released jazz and pop albums?

Here’s the thing, I spent half a lifetime trying to decipher the subtle, yet blatant hidden messages in just about everything.

Be pretty, but not so lovely people will think you are vain and certainly don’t threaten anyone with it.

Be talented, but hide some of those talents lest you confuse the casting committee of your fach.

Make a living as an artist, but certainly don’t let anyone know you are creative and compassionate eno