I have honestly had a tough time writing this post. Sharing this level of truth with everyone can be daunting. However, I want you to know me and where I come from, and why I love what I do. So I will jump right in at the toughest part to tell.
Growing up, I lived in a town with very few other minorities. The friends I made from those times mean so much to me now but, it wasn't always perfect. Harsh teachers who didn't want minorities in the public schools made it tougher than it probably should have been, and we clear as to their personal thoughts, not just to the schools and me but to my peers.
I remember knowing I didn't deserve the treatment I received, and I remember promising myself NEVER to allow another person in my life to feel the way I was made to feel.
Singing became my outlet, and it became the one place I could express myself as who I was and who I felt I was meant to be. I was able to find my self-expression and myself in the singing. I soon was offered voice lessons with the top Doctoral music students from Yale. I lived for those lessons growing up.
Over the years, I discovered a love for musicals. It was a deep rush of love that I couldn't have expected.
I studied in College and fell even more deeply in love with the craft, till one day when everything began to change for me.
I was the passenger in a friend's car when a vehicle hit the passenger door on the highway and drove off. It was sudden, and I seemed fine at the time. This accident set me up for something I couldn't have imagined. I was fairly consistently in pain, sensing there was more wrong. I came home to CT and got a job while I planned to audition in the city until a young driver rear-ended me.
That was the day that truly changed the course of my plans. I couldn't feel my left leg, and the searing pain went through my lower spine. I could not longer keep up with the children at my job; my mind was always flooded with the chronic pain I was in. I searched for answers only to find that I had a ruptured disc and a few herniations pressing on the nerves around them. Between medication, cortisone shots, and painful therapy, I was sure I lost all that I longed for. After a few years, I was assigned a disability index by the doctors and told that my spine would be unpredictable for the remainder of my life. This meant I would never know if I would have my back go out for a period of time, leaving me incapacitated till the spasms and swelling would go down.
During those years, I decided to start sharing my favorite craft, if only not to lose touch with it entirely. I met some truly amazing people and found some really fantastic students. And here is what I realized.
Each time one of my students found progress in their work, I was filled with joy.
Each time one of my students landed a roll, achieved a goal, found an outlet for self-expression, my heart would sing, and I was constantly overwhelmed with joy for them. Their successes gave me purpose, and I couldn't have asked for a greater gift.
Now, after over a decade of working with students to find confidence in their voices, I am reminded of my promise to myself as a kid. I had promised that no one would ever feel like they are unworthy, no one should ever feel like they are unloveable, no one should ever feel like they don't have value.
I promised that my students would grow, and continue to grow, that they would have a place to go where they feel safe to sing and make mistakes and know I will not judge them.
I want to see my students be confident in their voices; I want them to find freedom in their singing, express themselves fully, and enjoy their journey as they find more of who they are. This is my heart. The past is the past, and it may have shaped who I am, but it surely did not define me.
Your Pure Voice was birthed out of self-expression and freedom to continue to love a craft. This is the home of triumph over hatred, judgment, and loss. Sharing that with my students is how I get to see others do exactly that.