I have the fondest memories of growing up in the musical world of Cleveland! My family went to hear the Cleveland Orchestra regularly and I remember feeling so little in giant Severance Hall and being blown away by the power of the music. We had a cousin who would get “special” tickets through the classical music radio station he worked (WCLV). I would find myself getting dressed up on a school night and going to the concert with him. We usually ended up in the first box seated with the conductor’s wife! The first box is an amazing place to sit. It’s as if you are an angel floating over the orchestra. I must have been about 9 years old!
My brother, sister and I were all taking lessons and theory classes at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. What an amazing place. The school is located in an enormous red brick mansion. The school is so large that it spills over into the adjoining houses as well as the carriage house behind the mansion. When we weren’t in lessons we were silent explorers (we knew that if we interrupted any of the ongoing lessons we would lose our exploring privileges!). We know every nook and cranny of that mansion from the grand staircase to the servants' staircase, from the dumbwaiter to the old fashioned telephone booths. Our recitals were held in the ballroom with lovely windows, wood floors and giant glass chandeliers. My violin lessons were in the servants' quarters! The rooms had just enough space for 2 people, 2 violins and a music stand. Some rooms even had an upright piano in them. Ahhh – I still remember how the place smelled!
It’s no wonder that I continued with my violin studies as a young adult! My college days were spent at the Peabody Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and The University of Akron. My fondest memories of Peabody were how the teachers talked about Bach. I remember being deeply moved by how my violin teacher coached Bach and how my history teacher would bring to life Bach’s story. Manhattan School of Music was centered around my studies with Burton Kaplan. His expertise in teaching the bow arm, musical expression and how to practice are what I remember the most. The University of Akron for my masters degree was a great way to return to the Cleveland area and begin my career as a musician as well as meet my husband, bass player John Allen.
While at Manhattan School of Music I did secretary work on the side. When a friend of mine asked if I would like to take over her violin teaching studio at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Queensboro Branch I jumped at the opportunity happy to leave the corporate world. This began my teaching career. Ever since that time I’ve had a full studio of 20+ students!
During and after my graduate degree program at The University of Akron I actively freelanced with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Canton Symphony Orchestra. I had pieced together a busy teaching schedule by teaching at home, traveled to Baldwin Wallace College and taught in their Preparatory Department, and began a violin studio in Aurora, Ohio which eventually turned into a full fledged orchestral program in the school system (thanks to the support and dedication of the parents). Between the teaching and the freelancing I spent a lot of time in my car. I too had become a member of the “freeway philharmonic”!
Once again it was a friend who propelled me to a whole other level of my professional teaching career. She highly encouraged me to take a 6 hour drive to Washington D.C. and observe Suzuki Teacher Trainer Ronda Cole. At the end of the day of observation, my husband and I staggered out of Ronda’s home in a swirl of amazement, inspiration, and excitement. This began my introduction to the world of Suzuki style teaching. I’ve since trained with Yuko Honda, Ronda Cole and Martha Shackford.
My husband and I began travelling out west to Oregon to perform in the Britt Festival. (On recommendation of yet another friend!) We fell in love with Oregon and its beauty. Each summer I would come home from Britt and get a Suzuki Journal and there would be a listing for a violin teaching job in Bend, Oregon. This went on for at least 3 years when finally one summer, sitting on the couch 8 months pregnant I answered the advertisement. Within 6 months we packed up our belongings and made the pioneer pilgrimage out west to Bend.
Living in Bend has been truly wonderful. I sincerely feel like I’m making a contribution to my students, their families and the community at large. The same is true for my involvement with the Central Oregon Symphony. It never ceases to amaze me that this local amateur orchestra has to perform 3 concerts to fulfill the demand whereas my "professional" gigs in Ohio barely filled the hall once!
Bend has inspired me to explore the beautiful local scenery and stay physically active. I teach solely out of my home and Bend is so small you can get anywhere in 5 minutes! My favorite non-musical activities are cross country skiing and gardening. My husband and bassist, John Allen and I love living here and caring for our trumpet playing son Scott, and our adorable cats Cally and Furry.