Q: What’s your inspiration musically?
A: That would be my voice teacher in high school. Dr. Marion Hall, from Drake University told me that I had to sing, “You have a voice that you absolutely have to use.”
He died right when I got out of my high school from lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That sounds kind of sappy, I guess, but I felt like I was one of the people he devoted time to, so I felt like I needed to excel at it. And the one thing I’ve ever put my most effort and focus in was my voice — during my formative years when I should have been taking acting classes. [laughing]
Q: What’s your inspiration when teaching?
A: He is my inspiration when I’m teaching. Also the person that most inspired my teaching style was another college professor, Dr. Arnold Epley at William Jewell College, where I went to school in Liberty, Mo., because he was really no-nonsense — he just said things the way they were, “This is what you’re doing wrong and this is how you fix it.” All the while just communicating a deep love and passion for the art.
Q: Your life seems very romantic. Like you’re living a musical.
A: The romance of it, for me, is helping a student unlock their abilities and use their voice — and use their voice to its fullest. Then they go out and they audition and they get representation by an agent in New York or they get a Broadway show or a national tour — that’s what does it for me. I want them to be as successful as they can possibly be and that’s what I want. That’s what I’m in it for.