I’ve logged thousands of hours listening to NPR.  If Diane Rehm or Terri Gross were to ask the questions here is how it might go:

Give us the quick curriculum vitae.
Born in NYC, raised on Long Island, youngest of three girls.  My first memory is of sitting at our piano, and I’ve always been a singer.  I had a wonderful music teacher, Mrs. Canipe, who noticed my interest in music when I was 9 and brought me in to sing with the chorus after school.  This was a really big deal because it was for 4th, 5th and 6th graders, and I was only in 3rd grade.  Our first program was the complete soundtrack to “The Sound of Music” and I’ve loved that music ever since.  I used to ride my bike every night during the summer back to the elementary school and pretend I was Maria, singing to the empty ball fields and the woods beyond.  Long Island is a beautiful place.

I attended Boston University on a partial scholarship for voice performance.  I freaked out, couldn’t handle the competition and the huge egos.  The other kids were so confident and loud and I couldn’t find my safe place.  The best thing about my two years in Boston was that I got my first studio gig, doing backups for a pop song.  I was hooked on recording after that.  I changed my major to Sociology and Business, and then transferred to Arizona State University, because my parents had moved to Phoenix by then.  I sang here and there but mostly with a local studio, doing jingles and rock operas.  Ed Van Fleet was the composer and producer at that studio, and he was a pioneer in New Age music.  I learned a great deal from Ed.  I would hang out during all kinds of sessions, watching the engineer work the board, deal with the analog tape, see what it took to get just the right sound.  I love the recording process.

I started a career in general business, because I was afraid to sing, and I really didn’t know what to do with music.  So I worked in HR, marketing and other corporate positions, all the while singing in symphonic choirs or local groups.  I was married, had my two sons, got divorced, moved here and there, was in an all-girl rock band called Software in Indianapolis, then moved to the Dallas area when I remarried.  We’ve been here now for 16 years.

How did you get involved with Jewish music?
I was raised in a Conservative synagogue, so I only saw men up on the bimah, and only heard male cantors.  Like most kids, I was bored by the services, but the music got my attention.  I loved the modes, and I would wonder how the cantor knew all those melodies and prayers.  When I was an adult and attended services at a Reform synagogue in Indianapolis, I heard a woman cantor for the first time.  She’s still there, Cantor Janice Roger, a lovely voice and really nice person.  I would leave services and mimic what I heard once I got in the car.  It didn’t occur to me that I could be that person singing on the bimah until I met Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis when he came to my home synagogue in Texas.  He welcomed me to sing and lead services with him, taught me a great deal about the service and pointed me to the repertoire.  It felt good and right although I was really nervous the first several months.

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