At this point in my career and my life, I should be grateful for what I have, thankful for the students and colleagues that I work with, kick back and ride it out. Right? I mean, I've done the work. I managed to survive a financially crippling divorce from a gambler, put acting work on hold as I raised my son, and enjoyed every self-employed second of it. Ok, well, almost every second of it. The act of balancing motherhood/single parenting, running a voice studio, taking care of house and yard, staying current with the world and occasional cocktails with friends did me in a couple of times.
By the time my son Evan was starting high school we'd begun working together--he'd play for my classes, get paid and it sure beat slingin' burgers. He was already a excellent jazz musician, and sight-reading composers like Jason Robert Brown and Adam Guettel enhanced the Chopin he was already fond of playing. I got re-acquainted with a college flame, who conveniently moved to Seattle. We were, and still are, a great pair. My family life got a second wind. Evan's talent combined with my organizational skills set him off to college with a hefty number of scholarships at the University of Michigan. He graduated in 2015, with Honors, from the Artists and Scholars Program (thank you Ian Eisendrath!).
All the while my private voice studio has thrived. In twenty-five years, I've spent less than $100 in marketing, taught over 37,000 hours, and never had a student with vocal damage on my watch. I've started a studio in NYC. I've served as the Equity Liaison for Seattle, been on the board of Puget Sound NATS, and served on a number of other theatre boards. I created the first online searchable database for Music Theatre Belt literature, www.thebeltbook.com. I've added a bathroom, created a garden oasis, I swam the Sechelt inlet in Canada. I've coached students who are now famous, kids with Asperger's, transgender students, and been a mentor/mother to countless youth not my progeny. My wonderful colleague, CT Doescher and I started a program to prepare high school seniors for BFA Music Theatre programs which has also thrived, and our students are all over the country at wonderful programs. I'm undeniably proud and grateful for all the opportunities I've had, that I've helped create for others, and for all those whom I teach and who teach me.
So, back to my original question--time to sit back and relax? For anyone who knows me, the idea is laughable. I want to learn more, teach in new ways, build the online database. I want to be in an environment where there are more than just a couple of like-minded colleagues that I get to collaborate with occasionally. I want to work again as an actor. And time is marching on.
Enter Phase Three: In the most serendipitous collision of worlds, I have accepted an appointment as a full time Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in the Music Theatre Department in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. I am beyond thrilled to join friends I've made over the years there as a colleague. I look forward to serving our students-- helping them to hone their vocal abilities, meld singing with their acting talents, and nurture their entrepreneurial endeavors. I will continue teaching in NYC a few times a year. I will also, for the moment, be in Seattle over the summers both teaching and performing.
Putting it out there. Being brave, taking risks, enjoying the journey. Life reimagined.