As a young child, I would try to imitate my Swedish grandmother as she sang opera and accompanied herself on the piano. Or so they say. I don’t really remember. But I do have fond memories of my mom teaching me piano lessons at my grandmother’s house.
In high school, I began singing in choir, performing in school musicals and also was recruited to play bells and mallets in marching and concert band. It was at this time, I was exposed to jazz. I sang in my school’s jazz choir and also started playing vibraphone in the jazz band, and even received an Oustanding Musicianship Award at the Reno Jazz Festival.
My love of jazz led me to Central Washington University, where I earned a Bachelor of Music degree cum laude with studies in Vocal Performance and Business Administration and Marketing. I was determined to work with pioneering jazz educator, John Moawad and I was selected for his award-winning Vocal Jazz Ensemble as a freshman. In the four years that I sang lead soprano with the choir, we won 1st Place in the West Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival in Berkeley, CA, recorded the album, In a Mellow Tone and performed with jazz great, Dizzy Gillespie.
During my later years at CWU, my female vocal jazz quartet, Sudden Touch, performed regularly in the Northwest, received national attention by being chosen as one of six groups nationwide for the 1st Collegiate Jazz Festival at Epcott Center in Florida and was featured on the cover of the Jazz Educator’s Journal.
Still performing after all these years
I’ve performed in many diverse places and situations. My opera roles include coloratura favorites such as the Queen of the Night & Marie. Concert work includes Handel’s Messiah, Bachianas Brasileiras #5 and Carmina Burana among others. As a jazz singer, I have performed with small vocal groups and as a soloist in such venues as Tula’s Nightclub in Seattle, the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton and Benaroya Nordstrom Recital Hall. In 2012, I put together The John Moawad All Star Vocal Jazz Ensemble from CWU jazz alumni and we headlined at the Jazz in the Valley Festival in Ellensburg, WA. My singing has been featured on numerous studio and live recordings and I have worked professionally as a keyboard player as well.
Besides singing and teaching, I am also a published writer as well as a public speaker, clinician and adjudicator. Classical Singer Magazine called me a “Master Teacher” after my workshops at the 2005 Classical Singer Convention in New York City were enthusiastically received. Besides writing regularly for Classical Singer, I also contributed to the book, This Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America.
My teachers and influences
I am passionate about teaching singers how to sing in different genres while maintaining vocal health and artistic integrity. Many of my students have gone on to performing and teaching careers and/or have attended prestigious schools like Berklee School of Music and New York University. I also love working with innovative teachers so I can continue to improve and learn new techniques. My significant teachers include: Charles Peterson for vocal technique, Williams Eddy for opera, Robert Edwin for belt voice technique, John Moawad and Greta Matassa for jazz styling, and Melissa Cross for rock & screamo. I have attended workshops and master classes from: Cathrine Sadolin, Melissa Cross, Craig Carnilia, Jeannette LoVetri, Marvin Keenze, Neil Semer, Paul Kiesen, Ann Baltz, Kurt-Alexander Zeller, Barbara Conable, Katherine Verdolini, Ingo Titze, Ken Bozeman, Nancy Loitz, Mary Saunders Barton, Nancy King, Judy Niemack, Anita Wardell, Dena DeRose, and Jane Eaglen, I am thankful for my many mentors and I feel blessed to be able to pass on their legacy to the next generation.
- Graduate studies, Central Washington University
- Bachelor of Music cum laude – Central Washington University
- National Association of Teachers of Singing
- Music Teacher National Association
Favorite Opera Roles
Queen of the Night reviews:
“The best Queen of the Night I have ever heard in my life!”
–World Renowned Voice Teacher, Bill Eddy – age 93
“A dazzling figure on stage…Williams can hit a high F above high C, and her skill as a singer was obvious…”
The Yakima Herald – Yakima, WA