Like many, I took piano lessons as a child. My teacher’s name was Mrs. Klinky (True story!) I walked each week to her home. It was small, cozy, and immaculate! She was patient and kind. Her sharp pencil and perfect handwriting marked the pages that I needed to work on. It was an incredible experience to set my foundation in music. Our piano recital was held at a local church. I was nervous yet managed to play a song I had chosen and worked hard on! It was Jesu Joy of Man’s desiring. When I married Kurt in 1987, I had to have this song as part of our ceremony!
I started coronet lessons in 5th grade. An energetic kid at heart, lesson time was fascinating to me, and I sat very still, patiently while the teacher worked with the other students who struggled. For me, I found learning the instrument was easy! My inspiration was watching a senior high school student at one of our elementary assemblies. Her name was Jennifer Baad, and I was spellbound that a girl was playing the trumpet! This gave me great hope that I could achieve anything!
My transition to trumpet was exciting! The band leader at Battle Creek Central High School was selling his, and we found out through one of his colleagues. My parents graciously purchased it for me. I was over the moon! To keep up with the demands of a high level of performing in high school, I started taking private lessons with a master, Ed Zentera. His energy, enthusiasm and dedication to his craft was so inspiring. He made learning fun, and I learned so much! With his encouragement, I competed at the State level with a trumpet solo, accompanied by piano. An incredible experience, and I earned a 1st place blue medal. It was worth the effort.
I always enjoyed singing, yet I dropped being in choir in junior high, so I could focus on playing in the band. When Kurt and I moved to Texas, I lived my dream of singing in a band. With our recent moved back to Michigan, it has been a true joy to sing again! This time, I am approaching it in a professional way. I have an amazing vocal coach. Tamara Sterlini is an accomplished voice teacher, vocal coach. piano teacher and performer. I wish I had met her sooner; I am learning so much. When COVID hit the world, she pivoted quickly and learned innovative ways to continue to teach. She sends me audio files of her piano accompaniment on vocal warmups and my songs. This makes practicing so easy. It is personalized for each student, and her encouraging voice keeps me uplifted and focused. When I performed for the first time in the Magic Capital of the World, Colon, Michigan, she took time out of her busy schedule (she was performing as Elsa from Frozen at a birthday party that day!) to send me an encouraging video (in her full glam Elsa make-up, hair and gown) cheering me on with tips and a “you can do it” message. Tamara organized a recital for her students, and it was an honor to be a part of it. What a joy it was to see her students perform and share their many gifts. The wow factor was performing on stage at the Sterlini Theatre. Top notch all the way with expert lighting, accompaniment, and a classic theatre ambiance.
Music, singing, and performing are excellent ways to bring cheer into your life. They are the gifts that keep on giving. And with an expert coach, you can be sure that you will discover your greatness if you are willing to be open minded, take direction well, practice and perform, as much as you can!