I was born and raised in the historic Irish farming community of St. Thomas, Minnesota. Singing around the piano was a regular occurrence in our house; I became the family accompanist at a very early age. The foundation of my musical training was further accelerated by my good fortune at being the church organist from age 11 until my departure for the College of St. Benedict. Those were the days of the great Latin masses and hymns. Following graduation and two years of teaching in the Minnetonka School District, I moved to Eugene, Oregon, for graduate study at the University of Oregon, one year of which I spent at the University's German Music Center in Heutingsheim, Germany.
After completing my second master's degree, I joined the faculty at Plymouth State College in Plymouth, New Hampshire. I performed solo and joint recitals with other faculty members, and appeared as a soloist with New England choruses and orchestras, most notably the New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, a summer residence orchestra made up of some of the finest orchestral musicians in the United States.
At the suggestion of Susan Clickner, my voice teacher at the New England Conservatory, I moved to Boston, where I became a soloist and member of some of the most acclaimed musical groups in the city: The Boston Camerata; Cantata Singers; and Emmanuel Music. I taught voice in my home and at Brandeis University, where I often premiered works of new composers.
Although it was rewarding to be an active participant in Boston's rich classical music world, I longed for a chance to sing the American standards, as well as songs from the great musicals, some of which we sang around the family piano years before. This lead me to a series of lead roles in the Boston community theater world: Guenevere in Camelot; Rosabella in Most Happy Fella; Abigail Adams in 1776; Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, and the Countess in Strauss's opera, Capriccio.
After a few years it became clear to me that the best singing work in Boston wasn't going to provide the means for me to buy a nice new pair of leather boots, much less a home of my own, so I became a dual career professional. As a high technology sales executive I was afforded two relocations (and a home of my own in each); the first to Jacksonville, Florida, and most recently back to my home state of Minnesota. While in Florida, I performed both in recital and as a soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.
When I returned Minnesota, I was drawn back to the music of my roots, releasing my first CD, Galway Bay, 18 Irish Favorites, in March 2000. Performing with me on the album are pianist Tim O'Neill, and guitarist Dean Magraw. I hosted a Songs and Stories Tour of Ireland, and, as part of the Compleat Scholar Program at the University of Minnesota, taught two courses, Music In Ireland's History, and Mythical Legends of Ireland.
Greatly enamored with the music of George and Ira Gershwin, I presented a concert of their songs with the esteemed Minnesota jazz pianist, Jeanne Arland Peterson. We repeated that endeavor in the fall of 2001 during my U of M course, The Songs of George and Ira Gershwin.
My second CD, Abide With Me, will be released in September 2002. Performing with me are pianist John Carlson, guitarists Dave Malmberg and Jim Johnson, singers Paul Marino and Phil Reesnes, and Tim Lyles who provides acoustic and digital backgrounds. It is a collection of sacred classics, performed in a reflective, traditional style. I perceive the great sacred songs as lifelong companions; resilient, loyal, and illuminating. I hope that each listener, whatever your spiritual path, will be elevated by the simple and universal appeal in each of these beautiful songs.