For the curious, I really was born in April on Bingo Night... but to make a long story short, I grew up all over the United States in an Air Force family: one brother, two parents, and a pair of siamese cats. As a result of this upbringing, I do a fair impression of a siamese cat, and can change people-accents at will!
In high school I entered a pageant to annoy my mother; a year later found myself wandering the country with a crown on my head and discovering people actually Wanted to hear me sing. This changed my thoughts of a slightly-more-sane major in English at Whitworth College to a degree in music with a drama emphasis, followed by relocation to beautiful Austin, Texas and years of hard labor at The University of Texas at Austin. I was finally released from my sentence with a masters degree in voice pedagogy and performance, a doctorate in voice performance, the usual debts, and the nickname (among others) of Dr. Y.
Since then, life has included a series of moves and the wearing of many kinds of professional hats.:-) I've lived and taught in California, North Carolina, and Virginia, and Florida; who knows where life will lead next?
Do I have a life? I'm often a bit too busy to be objective. The majority of my time is spent juggling the demands of teaching voice, performing, creating educational websites, and taking on a variety of writing and research projects. At one point, I kept one home on the West Coast while actually living on the East Coast teaching at East Carolina University. Not long after that I moved again, this time to open an independent studio in Virginia. (That same summer included a trip to Newfoundland to speak at the Festival 500 academic symposium, a US coast-to-coast train trip, the complete revamping of the nats.org website, participation in a publications planning committee, and a chance to speak before the NATS' Board of Directors at a Convention. It has been said that I don't do downtime well.;-) ) The following years in Virginia continued to be busy, with new teaching and performing adventures, participation in two national committees, new forays into using technology in the voice studio, and continuing my work with NATS Online. Then it was time to pack up and relocate to begin a new chapter of life on faculty at the University of Tampa. In 2007 I moved on to look for new challenges, and in 2008 returned to private teaching.... There are times in my life when I think Standard Issue for singers should include a camel and tent... Surely there is a fach for Nomadic Soprano!
Some liberty I Do have; I try to keep my schedule just flexible enough to spend time with all my real and virtual friends and get in enough time doing Pilates and resistance training to maintain a semblance of sanity.
As time permits, I still take on stage roles, recital appearances, recordings, etc....I am most definitely still pursuing music, although some days it feels like it's pursuing Me! :-)
After years of dedication to art song, lieder, mélodie, theater and
opera, I have grown used to "Sing that dead bird song!" and similar
requests. What is the use of formal training if you can't use it for the greater
good of Humor? I frequently include comic songs in my recital
performances, and even have a program dedicated to humorous repertoire.
Many thanks to the world's great composers who sustain my Art--Tom Lehrer, Anna
Russell, Flanders & Swann, and especially Hank Williams for writing "Yvonne"...
my theme song.
If you happen to know a particularly wicked little ditty -- something fun, weird, a great parody or just plain wacky, please share your finds with me!
Some artists get to be the King of Pop or at a former Prince; me, I've been dubbed the Diction Diva. Performing will always be my first love, but for some mysterious and baffling reason I feel compelled to unlock the secrets of the International Phonetic Alphabet and reveal them to the uninitiated. Some insanity must be inherited, but so far, no-one's taking any blame.
So when Dr. Candace Magner (the other Diction Diva) contacted me with an idea to set up an online resource site devoted to voice diction, what mortal could resist? I created the monster, and we both contribute to its Content. You can learn more about voice diction, voice diction resources, and the Diction Divas at The Diction Domain (TM).
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