Director of Contemporary Music – Staff Member since 2009
Why did you choose to pursue a career in music?
I simply had no other choice. I’ve always known I would grow up and be in music. It has taken me from the Young Americans, to singing in jazz clubs across the country, to musical theater across the country, to recording my own projects and original music.
Music is what makes me feel alive, fulfilled and purposeful. If I did anything else, I would feel some part of me was missing.
Tell us a little bit about your musical background.
I started singing in my dad’s church when I was in grade school. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was writing and performing my own music at churches in my town and neighboring states.
I attended St. Olaf College as a vocal performance major, but soon realized I wanted to be out pursuing my musical career. I left St. Olaf to go to Los Angeles and sing with the Young Americans. Feeling a calling to jazz, I moved to Denver and made the rounds in jazz clubs as a solo artist and a member of several vocal jazz groups.
I saw an audition for “Godspell,” auditioned and was cast. This started my 20-year career in theater. I have worked at The Arvada Center, The Denver Center, Country Dinner Playhouse, Boulder Dinner Theater, The Aurora Fox and Littleton Town Hall Arts Center. Nationally, I did shows at Shakespeare Santa Cruz and The John Houseman Theater in New York, and I toured with “Beehive.”
My husband was the music director for “Beehive,” and we were engaged four months after we met. We have written and performed music together for our entire 15-year marriage and have recorded several CD projects together.
We moved back here from New York in 2006 for my husband to be the music director at Country Dinner Playhouse (CDP). When CDP closed unexpectedly, we both were able to find jobs at churches that have allowed us to use our musical gifts and abilities, as well as our faith and devotion to God.
What is the greatest thing about the music ministries at Wellshire?
The respect for all types of music. While my contemporary music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I feel completely respected as a musician and leader by the Wellshire musical staff. I also think there is a constant striving for excellence that includes all people who want to be involved, regardless of their experience or skill set.
How do you select music for worship?
The most important thing I try to do is match the songs to the theme or scripture of the service. I want the entire service to be a cohesive experience for our congregants, with the music supporting and reinforcing the message. I want to give the people something to hang onto — a melody or a lyric — that will come into their minds throughout the rest of the week and remind them of the words they heard or the feelings they had while attending worship.
Secondly, I look for “singable” songs and for familiar songs so people don’t feel intimidated or inept when they sing with us. My goal is for the songs to flow from them, giving them a feeling of total worship and praise.
What is the most memorable worship musical experience you’ve ever had?
I have been so blessed to provide music in worship for most of my life. It’s hard for me to narrow down one experience… But what always touches my heart and makes me feel humbled and purposeful is when I am approached after a service by someone to tell me my music spoke to them.
I’ve had people say “You don’t know how much I needed to hear that today. Your words were exactly what were on my heart.” My biggest desire is to be a vessel through which others receive joy, empathy, inspiration and encouragement.
Where do you find inspiration?
My heart — whoever lives in my heart inspires me... My faith and devotion to God inspires my compositions... My husband inspires my love songs... My dogs have inspired music in me... My work with kids inspires me to write children’s musicals... My children inspire me to move forward with purpose and honor every day…
I may be a little too empathetic (for my own good) to the world around me, and I’m moved by events in our world, both tragic and heroic.
What are the things that make you happiest?
Singing… Being with my husband and kids… Laughing so hard I snort… Having special get-aways with my husband and kids... Good books… My daughter’s sense of humor and my son’s poignant wit… Reading really good mysteries I can’t figure out… Hanging out with good friends…
When you’re not at Wellshire, where are you likely to be?
Home (I actually really love being at home)… Performing in concerts around Denver… Teaching voice students… Hanging with my family...
What is one thing that very few people know about you?
I had quite a turbulent life in my early adulthood. As someone recently said to me, “You have come to the foot of the Cross through the deepest dark. And because you know the dark, you know the true light of God.”
God has placed events in my path that I have been able to prevent or help other women through because of what happened to me. I believe in the healing power of taking the hurt and violence in your life and turning it into good works. That honors the power of God in my life.