At a very young age, I had always had an interest in music and wanted to pursue the idea of being someone great or special. When I began piano lessons at the age of five, I didn't know my life would never be the same. I had been blessed with a God given talent. At the age of eight, I was playing freshman level music in college. I played in Baroque Festivals, Sonata Festivals, National Federation of Music Clubs competing at a state level, and the National Guild playing ten memorized pieces each year for 11 years. My piano teacher, Grace Mueller, was my best friend. She encouraged me to play things that were difficult, while giving me the encouragement I needed to succeed. She saw my potential, and then let nature take its course. I usually practiced 4-6 hours a day.
By the age of 16, I had won “All-State Musician” of Texas for seven consecutive years. I received honors in the National Guild and was awarded one of the top 10 in the Nation Scholarships. I performed Concertos with the Kilgore Orchestra, and at the age of 14 won a college Concerto Competition at the Van Cliburn Auditorium. I also had the invitation to attend Juilliard School of Music at the age of 14 after winning several college concerto competitions.
At the age of 17, my beloved teacher passed away of cancer. I was heart-broken, yet I needed to continue my musical training. Since the 6th grade, I was home schooled due to my difficult schedule as a musician, so I decided to move on to college. I auditioned at Brigham Young University and received a music scholarship. After a year and a half, I moved to Houston, Texas, where I was married and two years later gave birth to our first child. While attending the University of Houston, in order to finish, I was given special permission to take 32 credit hours that semester to finish up the courses I needed to complete a degree; an Associates of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Music Performance at Houston Community College; along with studies and experience in music Pedagogy.
“There is a time and a purpose to every season,” and while my seasons have changed, somehow I always find meaning and my purpose in life through my music. While in Houston I had 55 piano students that I taught out of my home. Three years later we moved from Houston, Texas, to a small town in Missouri known as Cabool. Over the years I have had students in my home while helping my own children develop their musical talents. I had five biological children. I call them, “My 5th Symphony.” When they were young, I began writing a music program that teaches theory while students are learning to play their instruments. I wrote and arranged music that they could all play together, regardless of their level. I decided that I would experiment with other students. After 9 months, 58 students performed for the public as a full orchestra. I arranged their music so that all ages could participate. They ranged from the age of 4 to adults. So I created the STARS Foundation for the public. Service is one of my passions. Seeing the light in the student’s eyes and their shared love of music gives me the satisfaction that, “This is my Season.”
I taught Music K-12 in the public schools for several years. While residing in Cabool, I have enjoyed serving the people. I served as PTO Vice President and as a member for 7 years and helped put a $35,000 playground at the Elementary School. I have served on the Park Board, which brought the town 3 years of spectacular July 4th celebrations with lots of live music and festivities. I also taught Sign Language at the school for 5 years. During December, I have produced Handel’s Messiah for 20 years, bringing all the churches together with a large choir to perform. I have also held annual “Relay for Life” concerts in honor of my teacher, Grace. Since 2009, I have produced and directed 14 Broadway Musicals and continue to run the STARS Foundation. In my spare time, I compose and arrange music.
While music is my passion, so are my husband and seven children. They support, love, and participate in my projects. I also enjoy traveling, sewing, cooking, interior decorating, scrapbooking, reupholstering my furniture, home schooling, and smiling at the joys in my life. I thank the Lord every day for my many blessings and the opportunities that I have. One of my favorite things is meeting people and hearing their life stories. Everyone intrigues me, and I try to find something in each of them that helps me learn and grow and become a better person. As my favorite quote says, “The choices we make are the purest reflection of who we are and what we love.”