I am originally from Ohio. At 4, my mother enrolled me in piano lessons that would make music an indelible part of my soul. In the 4th grade, I took up the violin but the junior high and high school orchestras in my town were always short of violas. Desiring to play in their orchestras and to get out of my classes for rehearsals, I made the switch to the slightly larger and deeper voiced instrument. I've stayed with it ever since but not exclusively. In the 60's, I was yet another teenager playing folk music on the guitar. I even dabbled a little with the clarinet and flute but asthma discouraged me on both counts. In high school, I had a crush on the trombone player but I didn't let asthma stand in my way. Given the traditional layout of an orchestra, I took up the French horn to be closer to the trombone section. Unfortunately, my mother drew the line. Every time I practiced, the dog would howl incessantly.
My family life also instilled in my heart another love. I grew up in a liberal family where discussion around the Thanksgiving dinner table was never about football but centered instead on the secrets of the universe. God was a hot topic. Our family and friends included Catholics, born again Christians, atheists, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Buddhists, Jews, and agnostics. Hearing the differing points of view kindled a question in my heart. Why all the differences if there was only one Christ? While studying at the Conservatory of Music in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, this burning question found its answer in the message of the Baha'i faith.
After I became a Baha'i, I understood that God is one and as religion comes from the same source, religion must agree and be one. Mankind is one family and one race, the human race - therefore mankind is also one. Fueled by my commitment to the Baha'i faith and my newfound understanding, I began the greatest and happiest journey of my life.
I had always dreamed of expressing myself through original composition. Despite years of private lessons and formal education, that dream would not become a reality until I moved to Chile, South America in 1979. It occurred to me one day that the children of the campo (country) could learn the prayers and meditations of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha more easily through song. Not only did I create melodies for the children to sing but as a member of the local orchestra I had the opportunity to try out my compositions with full orchestra. The music of Alientame was born. But it would be another twenty years before digital recording technology would make it possible for Alientame to become my first CD.
In 1995, a virus attacked my vocal cords. After several surgeries, the sweet 2nd soprano voice that had so naturally floated among the children's voices in Chile was now trapped in the basement of the male tenor range. I could no longer do my own music justice. A dear friend and fellow Baha'i, Patty Haulley, agreed to lend her voice for the lead vocal on my first CD, Alientame, while I managed the harmonies. The flood gates of creativity opened and I began to write again employing a greater use of orchestra and chorus in the creation of Conscious Peace. Once again, the voice of Patty Haulley rendered my melodic ideas to music.
Over time, my voice gradually returned to a rough alto. With the loving support and advise of my friends, I took on the lead in Befriend Me, my third CD. Even my four children, who had urged me to give up all hope of ever singing lead vocals again, were supportive.
Although I love music, it doesn't pay the bills. By profession, I am a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technologist. When I first heard of this field I must have thought the word 'resonance' had something to do with music. On an atomic level, it probably does. The technology uses magnetic fields and radio frequency to render images of the human anatomy without the danger associated with X-rays. I have been fortunate to be a part of the phenomenal growth of the medical imaging field over the past thirty years.
I am also a mediator. It's natural for a Baha'i to seek points of unity with others, even when we disagree. As a mediator, it's a joy to assist others to find their points of unity and thereby resolve their differences. Mediation is the way of the future for problem solving. Imagine two countries sitting down with a mediator, resolving their disputes rather than going to war. It could happen. Let's hope.
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