My very first (and defining) musical experience can be traced back to the day when, at age four, I sat at the Steinway baby grand in my grandmother's living room and randomly tapped out the first six notes of My Country 'tis of Thee with one finger. I remember the magic of that moment, and my amazement, as if it were yesterday.
I grew up in a musical home, surrounded by instruments that I played with the way most children play with toys, and with a mother who played piano, clarinet, baritone uke, and recorder, and who, in her later years took up the bass drum, which she played with gusto even though it was bigger than she was. The lore of my mother's younger years included stories of her having played alto sax in an all-girls band, a-typical for her day.
My big brother, John, played guitar and sang - beautifully - and many evenings of my childhood were spent gathered around the kitchen table, with John on guitar and my mother or I playing the uke (my first guitar, which I taught myself at around age eight) or tambourine, all of us singing. I can still hear my mother's velvety alto harmonies.
My father was a violinist and violin maker. I never met him, but I would eventually learn to play the violin as an adult and come to love playing my fiddle with a passion, particularly Irish traditional music.
During the years I was raising my three children - who were the lucky beneficiaries of nightly bed-time guitar concerts, a tradition I now have the joy of continuing with my three baby grandchildren - I created traveling music programs on Martha's Vineyard in which I taught and performed - accompanying myself on guitar, banjo, dulcimer, and various rhythm instruments - for and with home-schoolers and their parents, nursery schools, religious schools, senior centers and hospitals.
My career as a liturgical musician began in 1997, somewhat by accident. From 1997-2000 I served as cantor in the RC parish on the Vineyard, and in 2002 I became a student of cantorial arts, both formally at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts, and informally, by immersion in the Greater Boston Jewish community. In 2005 I completed my b/a at Lesley University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts (my self-designed major was music and religion), and in June 2010, I was awarded a Certificate in Cantorial Arts from Hebrew College.
I have led and participated in many styles of religious services and life-cycle events in the past fifteen years, from traditional to modern, without and with guitar; in synagogue, church, and interfaith settings; in English and Hebrew, and with all ages - from babies to senior citizens and inter-generationally.
People often comment on my joy and spirit.
I believe that music is the key to worship, learning, joy, healing, and community.
Also, please check out a few of my other on-going music and/or photography projects:
Edgartown News - a chronicle, in pictures and words, of a small island town.
Random Thoughts - a not-quite-daily photo journal.
Trad Diary - a journal, in words and pictures, of one woman's Irish Traditional Music adventures and wanderings.
Vineyard and Boston Photographer - a chronicle of on-going photography projects, both personal and professional.