I was born and raised in Elmira, New York, located not far from the Pennsylvania border. I have been blind since birth, the result of being born two-and-a-half months prematurely. I had underdeveloped lungs and when twelve days old, I underwent an operation to remove part of a lung. I had to stay in an incubator for three months and got too much oxygen which caused scar tissue to form on the retina.
I went to regular public school where I learned Braille and cane travel. I began piano lessons at age four and voice lessons at age fifteen. I can learn pieces by ear but I can also read Braille music. I sang in the school chorus and played percussion instruments in the school and marching bands.
I received my bachelor's in vocal performance from Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. I received a master's in German and a master's in vocal performance from the University at Buffalo.
I received a Fulbright scholarship and spent a year studying voice, with an emphasis on Swedish repertoire, at the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden.
I currently teach German and Italian at Elmira College. I also speak Spanish, Swedish, and Albanian. I have studied some Finnish, Latin, and Russian. In high school, I studied some French but do not speak much now. I enjoy learning languages!
I sing in the church choir and in a chorus called: 'Common Time Choral Group.'
The group specializes in the performance of choral arrangements of popular songs.
I also teach piano and give voice lessons from my home.
I also perform solo recitals!