I am a native New Englander with a life-long love of the arts. I came to California in 1999, first to Oakland as a newlywed, and now as a crazy cat lady, with spouse still hanging in there, to the woods of Sebastopol. Raised by music-loving journalists, and thanks to my UU church children’s choir, I learned early to read both music and books. I picked up the flute from there, and was off to the races, singing and playing Bach and Jethro Tull, Mozart and Matt Molloy - some by ear, some from the page, and loving it all.
I earned a BA in Music History and Theory at Oberlin College, and was fortunate to study in England with Martin Best of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The work with Martin was a turning point for me: his teaching re-made for me the connection between “knowing how” to play, and “knowing why” embodied creativity is the stuff of life. In that context, I also met a student actor, whom I later joined as a co-founder, board member, and company member of Pilgrim Theatre Research and Performance Collaborative in Boston. For the next decade, Pilgrim was a rich laboratory for improvising, integrating, and stretching to the edge of sound, movement, and visual spectacle, while making deep friendships that endure to this day.
During my time with the Pilgrims I co-wrote, created music for, performed, and produced many plays including: “A Tempest” (Shakespeare’s play adapted for 3 actors and 2 musicians), “The Wild Place” (an original play based on the pregnancy-fueled dreams of a cast member), “Letters from Sarajevo” (based on correspondence smuggled out of the besieged city during the Balkan conflict), “Nada Brahma” (a meditation on language that saw me playing Bach while climbing a ladder - yikes!), and “The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Or How Not To Do It Again” (an adaptation of Jean-Claude Van Itallie’s play). I also sang with the Cambridge Madrigal Singers, everything from Machaut and Monteverdi to Mendelssohn, alongside commissioned works by contemporary composers. For variety, I was blessed to learn a few Irish tunes from some of the gifted players in the pubs in Cambridge and Boston, where I met my beloved of 25 years.
Landing in Oakland, it wasn't long before I was welcomed by the community around First Congregational Church, Sing for Your Life, and SoVoSó. I also became involved in the antiwar efforts post-911, and with Occupy Oakland Foreclosure Defense. In all these contexts, I found an incredible breadth and depth of creative energy, can-do attitude, and must-do change making. The circlesinging community has been my creative home ever since, even after moving to Sonoma County, and this web of people I am blessed to know continues to expand, challenge, and hold each of us through any circumstance. Especially in the past year, I have been grateful every day for our intentional grounding in Improvisation as a Life Skill.
I’ve always paid the bills (more or less) by organizing artists and arts events, spending my days as an administrator and advocate, and taking on just about every “job” imaginable. I now work as a self-employed pixel wrangler, using online tools to help healers and creatives do what they do best. There’s still space in my “off time” for music in small and large groups, writing, creating a harmonious home, and for being engaged in the work of creativity, equity, and building What Comes Next.