Be in love with your own journey! You are unique and your voice is important in this world.

My story...

Raised in a very small town (seriously, like 6 people in my graduating class kind of small) in South Dakota, I started my musical journey on voice, singing with my sister and mother at the piano. Piano lessons started soon after and when I was old enough to join band, I chose the clarinet. Living in such a remote area had both advantages and challenges: 

  • there were fewer distractions to keep me from practicing
  • individual band lessons gave me a good foundation
  • isolation and introspection taught me that music comes from within
  • but I wasn't able to take regular lessons from an advanced teacher once I started to excel. Thisorced to learn how to teach myself. I was still able to make All-State Band all four years with three years in the first section, and the final year as first chair.

Passionate about music education and wanting to inspire awareness and empowerment in the next generation of music-makers, I graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Music Education as a Briggs Scholar. My first job was at a K12 low-income school, much like the one I attended in my small town, in which I taught K-12 vocal, general, and instrumental music. Additional degrees include a Master of Music from the University of Missouri – Columbia in clarinet performance with a secondary woodwind emphasis and a Doctor of Arts in clarinet performance with a musicology secondary at the University of Northern Colorado, .  Now a music educator for over twenty-five years, I've held faculty positions at Northwestern, Dordt, Sioux Falls, and Chadron Statte Colleges.  

I'm currently a free-lance performer, teacher, and composer based out of Rapid City, SD. A founding member of the West Wind Quintet, Clarinet Madness Clarinet Choir, Clarinet Quartattitude, and Calumet Clarinet Duo, I'm an active solo artist and chamber musician, performing most recently as a soloist at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest, International Music by Women Festival, and Carpe Clarinet Day.  Orchestral performing includes the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Ballet, and Black Hills Symphony Orchestra.  An advocate of new music, I have a history of commissioning and premiering original works, including William F. Funk’s “Grenadille du Trisque,” Kyle Angley’s “Katabasis,” Kristin Parrish’s “Clarity for Madness,” and Joseph Scardetta’s “Clarinophony.”  Chamber music premieres include Myles Wright’s “Two Folk Songs” and William F. Funk’s “Triangle,” while receiving commissions for my own compositions from groups such as the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, Black Hills Balinese Gamelan Raga Garnita. and Larkspur Reed trio. You can check out recordings here!

But wait…there's more! 

I have a background in jazz thanks to the encouragement of well-rounded educators and growing up in a small community in which everyone has to do everything for there to be a thing. My jazz career includes performing with the Temptations and Four Tops as well as regional big bands, most often on lead tenor. I currently perform clarinet in Porch Swing, a hot jazz combo group. This aspect of my career influenced my research topics in grad school and led to the publication of a pedagogy method book on classical improvisation. More on that, follows…

Chosen to present my research “A Clarinetist’s Guide to Solo Eighteenth-Century Ornamentation” at the International Clarinet Association Conference (2017) and invited to perform my lecture recital “Woodwind Improvisatory Techniques of the Classical Era” at the American Single Reed Summit (2018), I published her pedagogical method book on Classical improvisation, Woodwind Improvisatory Techniques of the Classical Era: A Pedagogy Method, in November of 2021 to rave reviews. I presented a brief summary of my book, "Cadenzas, Eingange, and More: Improvisation in the Classical Era" at the 2022 International Clarinetfest in Reno, NV, and during a 2023 book tour. 

What's in the future?

After having been awarded the South Dakota Artist Fellowship Grant. I found out I needed spine surgery, which was actually a relief since I'd been dealing with a ton of health issues. The grant allowed me to make recordings of little-known but fabulous pieces I found while writing my dissertation, History and Development of British Secular Song for Solo Voice and Clarinet. While recovering from surgery (which is proving to be a long and challenging part of my journey), I'm creating an album of these songs and focusing on composing.