I work part time as a staff accompanist at Linfield University, which involves accompanying choirs, private and group voice lessons, and performance classes and juries for both vocalists and instrumentalists. I also accompany local high school choirs and other soloists and ensembles in various settings. I love the variety of music, instruments, and people that I get to work with.
In my composing time, I’m working on a series of hymn arrangements for student/teacher piano duet, with the option of playing along with a pre-recorded teacher part. I recently added two new songbooks to the “Piano Duets” series: a sacred collection and a Christmas collection for early intermediate pianists.
My husband and I live in Keizer, Oregon, and after raising an amazing blended family of six children, we’re now enjoying the empty-nester life. Our big and sometimes boisterous family continues to have a lot of fun whenever we can get together, and I’m thankful for their love and support over the years.
I grew up in a musical family and took to the piano at a young age. My mom was a piano tuner and also taught piano lessons, and although I didn’t take structured lessons from her, she was always there to suggest new music and give me help as needed. She introduced me to some great classical music and was also my partner for playing piano duets and accordion duets.
MY MUSICAL JOURNEY
There’s never been a shortage of opportunities to put my love of the piano to good use. From the age of 10 or 11, I was able to play for church choirs and groups, school choirs, and high school music competitions. As an adult, I discovered a love for being involved in musical theater as well. My collaborative piano skills have allowed me to work regularly with adults as well as local college, high school, and middle school students, and it has been incredibly rewarding to work with both professional and aspiring musicians.
It was through a 2007 high school production of “Guys and Dolls” that I became friends with Dana Libonati, high school jazz choir director and college music professor. When he discovered my desire to learn more about music theory, he generously offered to give me lessons and assignments that I could do from home at my own pace. I had never felt that I had the creativity to actually compose music, but with a basis of knowledge and tools to work with and some encouragement, he proved me wrong. Two years later, I had enough pieces written to put together a CD for my family and start my own website.
I’ve always enjoyed listening to and playing music in a wide variety of styles, and now I’ve been able to carry that into my writing as well, experimenting with everything from New Age and classical to boogie woogie, swing, funk, and gospel blues. I like the challenge of taking a simple, familiar tune like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and putting a new twist on it to give it a whole different feel. And I love being able to take an experience from life, like hiking to the top of a mountain, and creating an original piece of music to capture the sights, sounds, and emotions, allowing me to relive the experience and share it with others. Music is the best way I know how to express my feelings of joy, awe, love, struggle, pain, gratitude, and faith in God.
In addition to music (yes, there is more to life than just music), I like to hike, play pickleball, go on bike rides, read, camp in the back of our now-empty minivan, and occasionally bake delicious goodies to make up for the calories I burn doing some of those other things.
There’s never enough time for everything I want to do, of course. But music has always made me happy and it’s exciting to be able to share that with others as I continue to learn and bring new music to life. I’m so grateful for all the support and positive feedback I’ve received. It always makes my day to hear from someone who has discovered my music and had a good experience with it.