Where are you from originally?
Upstate New York.
How long have you played in the Omaha Symphony?
How did you choose your instrument?
When I was in the 9th grade I went over to my best friend’s house one day, and she showed me her oboe. She taught me how to make a "peeping" sound on the reed and then we played a “duet” with me playing the reed and she playing some low notes. We shared that oboe for a year, taking it home on alternate days, and then she quit so I got to keep it!
What’s something that people might not know about being a professional musician?
Most people are not aware of how rigorous and often capricious the audition process is for gaining employment in an orchestra. For oboe players, there are usually only 5-10 openings per year in the entire world. First, you submit a resume. They send you a list of solos and orchestral excerpts (the hardest ones!) to prepare. Then, if you are invited, you fly (at your own expense) to the city where the audition is taking place. Sometimes they invite over 100 people. You draw a number to see when you will play and when your number is called, you walk out on stage and play for 5 minutes. If you don’t advance that round, you are done! All that preparation and expense! It can feel pretty devastating. If you are lucky enough to be having a good day and you do advance, there are usually two or more rounds of rigorous playing until finally someone is chosen. Oh wait—sometimes they don’t choose anyone!
It’s truly a testament to the dedication and perseverance of musicians, that we put ourselves through this time after time. Hopefully, even when we don’t win, we can learn something from the experience and keep improving our craft.
What’s your favorite quarantine activity?
Morning coffee with my daughter who came home from New York to stay with me during the pandemic. We listen to podcasts by comedians. Laughter is a great way to start the day!
What’s something about you that surprises people?
Lots of people don’t know that professional oboists make their own reeds. We buy tubes of bamboo from France and spend lots of time cutting, tying, carving and adjusting until we’ve made a reed that gives us our own special oboe “voice”.