My Music and Singing History
My mom was a singer in the 40's with big bands (I have no details
because she died when I was 10, and my dad is also long-dead now). There
was always music in our home because she would sing, or we would play
instruments, or listen to the radio, or records. She played the
accordian, and so did my brother David. I think he also played the
violin at one point. My brother Pat played the clarinet in band at
school, and I learned the flute and played it in elementary school. My
brother Stephen played the guitar and bongos. Mind you, we didn't all
play together like a band or anything. It wasn't that organized. We were
very poor, and both of my parents worked, and my dad was hardly ever
In the 60's, I joined the chorus in elementary school and thereafter
sang in choirs throughout junior high, high school and college. I
stopped playing the flute after elementary school. I always loved to
sing. I've always had a pretty good range and love singing high notes.
My brothers were into rock and folk music, but they also liked musicals,
so I used to sing along to all those records when I was little,
especially The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, The Sound of Music and West Side Story.
We didn't have a lot of records. I used to go to the library when I was
in junior high and high school and check out records and tapes, and copy
them when I could. I listened to them over and over, especially the
musicals. I couldn't read music and didn't have a great voice. I didn't
know how to support the sound, so it was very breathy and quite a bit out
In high school in the mid-70's, the teacher put me in the alto section,
even though I preferred singing soprano. That did teach me how to read
music and how to sing harmony as well as help develop my lower range.
Eventually I got to move up to soprano. Choir teachers and directors
often put people where they need to have more singers, rather than where
your voice should be.
My brother David and his wife paid for me to have voice lessons when I
was in high school. I learned a lot from her, but still I wasn't very
good. With the voice, it's hard for the teacher to show the student how
to sing because it's not an instrument where you can just demonstrate
where to place your fingers or your mouth. It's mostly internal and a
lot of it is mental. Singing in choir in some ways just underlined the
bad habits I had of singing with an unsupported sound because I thought
I was supposed to sing quietly and blend in. That's pretty common, from
what I've read.
I enjoyed singing and tried out for everything I coul:, recitals,
musicals, etc. no matter how badly I messed up or how terrible I
sounded. I had very bad stage fright, too, so I would usually mess up
really bad on auditions, anyway. I never got any big parts in the high
school musicals for the same reason. Still, I had fun, and in my 11th
grade year, I went to summer music camp in Nevada, in the Las Vegas
mountains, which was great fun, and I learned a lot. Also, my high school
choir did all sorts of fun things. I was involved in not only the
regular choir but also the Advanced Girls group and in my senior year, I
finally made Chamber Singers. We went to Mexico on a fun trip my senior
By the time I graduated from high school in 1979, I knew I didn't have
what it took to become a singer, and also I knew that entertainment
people rarely got jobs in Hollywood or anywhere that paid well. However,
I did get a small drama scholarship from my high school, so I took drama
as well as music classes in college. I had this vague idea to get some
sort of music-related job. I knew I wanted to get a college degree, but
I didn't have many plans besides that.
In college, I definitely improved as a singer, but it took many years
before I finally got a good teacher in 1988 that was able to help me
figure out how to support my breath. By that time, I had graduated and
was taking courses toward getting a teaching credential (which I never
finished). After that, I mostly just worked on my singing by myself.
Using a karaoke machine that my sister-in-law Eileen gave me, I would
record myself singing, with karaoke backings, and listen to it and
improve that way. I would also get other people to listen and give me
their suggestions, and I went out to public karaoke.
I still had stage fright, but drinking before singing helped quite a
bit. I started doing lots of karaoke in the 90's, so eventually I was
able to sing confidently, even without drinking. I've taken more voice
lessons a few times in the past decade, including as recently as 2013.
I record myself singing now with karaoke backings on the computer and
upload the recordings to the sites
This is Karaoke. I also record myself a bit on video at
These are all home recordings and not professional at all. I sing much
I was able to develop my voice to the point where it's now very good,
especially for popular music, rock etc. of all types and I've been
trying to find a band to sing with instead of just karaoke for many
years. I finally found one here in Honolulu! I'm singing oldies with a
band called The All Natural Band. There are 7 of us and we have a lot of
fun. No real web presence yet, but stay tuned!
I would also love to build an all-female rock band to play real
oldies Grrl rock like Janis Joplin, Blondie, Pat Benatar, Heart, Linda
Ronstadt, Go-Go's etc.
You can see some of our Christmas concert a Hale Mohalu on my
YouTube page. We hope to get some better recordings soon!
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