As a child, I really enjoyed singing music in our church choir, with my friends. I also studied piano, flute and violin, although with the latter, I never got beyond, “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” In high school, I participated in the Berkshire County Junior Miss scholarship competition, for which I learned a Mozart art song. That song really captured my imagination, and I began to think about studying classical vocal literature more seriously. It wasn’t until I was a junior in college — studying marine biology — that I knew that I wanted to be a professional singer.
The communication of text in classical singing was really compelling to me. I had always enjoyed learning languages, too, which was a natural fit with singing. My high school Latin teacher, the wonderful Janet Rajotte, would have been pleased with how much I use Latin in the average work day! I have been so fortunate in the many mentors who have encouraged me and guided me in music. Some Berkshire mentors include: Sue Westendorf, Paul Hamill, Bob Blafield, Hilda Banks Shapiro, Tracy Wilson and John Cheney. Early music mentors included Ed Parmentier, Ellen Hargis, Fred Jodry and Joel Cohen.
I was introduced to early music while studying vocal performance at Skidmore College. After joining the Collegium and loving the medieval renaissance choral repertoire (and the “crunchy” 2nd intervals), I participated in the music department’s production of Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and of course that sealed the deal! The allure of early music for me, then and now, is how flexible the voice is allowed to be, sometimes popping out of the instrumental texture, while at other times blending seamlessly with the instruments and other voices. The opportunities for ornamentation are also really exciting.