People often ask, when did you discover your passion for music? At age 6, without my parents' permission, I defiantly marched over to Mrs. Kubitscheck's house five blocks away and announced I was ready to start piano lessons. My first keyboard was only a cardboard imitation, but I was certain I was creating great symphonies on it. My parents gave their permission, and my heart soared! It wasn't long before I was playing works beyond my years, and when I realized my playing was making people happy I couldn't get enough. Legendary teacher, Alice Hackett, known for coaching concert pianists, soon took over. I was bursting with pride to be one of her students. Her perfectionism soon paid off, and I won the Talent Portion of the Miss Iowa Pageant. Each performance I gave made me so excited to start preparing for the next.
I begged my parents to let me major in Music after high school graduation. I earned a BFA in both Piano and Opera, as well as a degree in Business Administration, at Upper Iowa University. I loved playing and I loved entertaining. I got the Sinatra bug, and studied Jazz Piano with Professor Jeff Helmer at the University of Texas. I was ecstatic! Not only was Beethoven in the house, but here comes Sinatra and Ellington! It wasn't long before my skills transferred into all genres, and it felt great! I couldn't believe it -- I was playing everything from Chopin to Gaga.
Soon I was belting out Sinatra on stage with the 17-piece orchestras of Lionel Hampton, Perry Como, and Benny Benack. Write-ups began appearing in publications such as Esquire and Vogue. I grew up in a small town in Iowa, but that didn't stop me from venturing to Paris to play at the Ritz-Carlton Bar Vendome, the Hotel Excelsior in Rome, and the Hotel Savoy in Cannes, France. I lived in St. Croix and the Virgin Islands for many years, and performed regularly at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas and Frank's Restaurant in St. Croix. Stateside I've performed at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe, the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan.
And, of course, Austin, my new hometown. It's an amazing city for music, and I love the wonderful friends I've made over the years, performing for many years at the Driskill Hotel, the Austin Country Club, and Tarry House. I've helped celebrate grand openings for Saks Fifth Avenueand Nordstrom's (where I continued to rock the house for seven years -- maybe you saw me playing there!), and helped raise money at many fundraisers. I've performed with Esther's Follies Comedy Troupe and have been the rehearsal pianist for the Dance Institute Ballet Company. I've been entertaining the crowd at Barton Creek Country Club for over a decade, every week and on special occasions, such as the big New Year's Eve celebration, my annual Mrs. Santa sing-a-long, and the member's Christmas party, when I play and sing for over 900 guests. As much as I love performing to a big room, it's the intimate scale of weddings and private parties that is most rewarding -- being a part of a celebration amongst family and friends.