Inspiring Women Winter 2018

inspiringwomen.editor

December 2018, Volume 2, Issue 4

September 2017, Volume 1, Issue 3

CELEBRATING LIVES ACROSS THE FAWCO WORLD

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INSPIRATION IN THIS ISSUE

An Introduction to Our Women in Music 4

England: A Lover of Mozart ! 5

Germany: Music for Children 8

Switzerland: Reviving Peggy Lee’s Songs? 12

Germany: In the Piano Zone 17

USA: 40 Years At The Opera! 24

Norway: A Note From Oslo via Hawaii 28

Austria: Singing For the Lord 32

Switzerland: A Life of Jazz 35

Germany: A Musical Teacher 37

Spain: The “Singing Housing Specialist” 41

USA: Dreaming of Accordions 44

Germany: Musical Theater Brought to Life 51

Belgium: Regular Season Tickets 55

France: Vocal Jazz Parisian Style 58

Germany: Life As a Viola Player 62

Luxembourg: Bringing Joy Through Singing 65

Switzerland: In the Opera Chorus 67

OUR FEATURES

Around The FAWCO World In 62 Images 11

What to look for in an Expat Tax Preparer 16

A Club Inspires: AWC Gothenburg 21

Just For Fun 1 31

A Letter to My Master Teacher 48

Just For Fun 2 61

IN EVERY ISSUE

Inspiration From the Editor 3

From The Cover Coordinator 3

Inspiring You 70

Magazine Feedback 70

More About This Issue 71

Coming Next Spring 72

Janet Darrow p. 10

Esquire Group p. 16

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX

London & Capital p. 27

The Pajama Company p. 30

Want to take your business worldwide? Consider advertising in Inspiring

Women. Contact Elsie Bose at advertising@fawco.org to get started.

FAWCO would like to thank Esquire Group, our Premier Sponsor, for

underwriting Inspiring Women. In this issue we have an interesting

column on page 16, written by Esquire Group’s president,

Jimmy Sexton.

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Inspiration From the Editor

So here we are

almost at the end of

another packed

FAWCO year! Time

has certainly flown

again in 2018; I

hope it’s been a

good year for you.

This issue of Inspiring

Women is filled with

musical notes. We

have the written

musical stories of

the profilees for you to read, but we are thrilled

to be able to offer you the chance to hear

their actual music, too. Just click the button to

hear them perform!

We also have one profilee whose inclusion

may puzzle you. So why in a magazine called

Inspiring Women do we have a male musician

profiled? Today Rick is the 1st VP of FAUSA

(FAWCO’s sister organization in the US), but he

first got involved when his husband got

transferred to Switzerland. Rick persuaded the

ladies of AWC Zurich to change their rules, he

joined them, and the rest is history.

the bus’ during the pre-Mumbai conference

tour we did in India in 2016! He is incredibly

musical, so I felt this was a great chance for

you all to get to know him. He is certainly

inspiring and works hard within the FAWCO

world, too.

I encourage you to send in your photos for our

FAWCO 62 collection. We really would like to

feature every single FAWCO club but can only

do it with your help. Turn to p.11 for the details.

All that remains now is for me to wish you all

happy holidays and tell you how much I am

looking forward to seeing many of you at the

conference in Edinburgh in March.

Best wishes, Liz x

Liz MacNiven,

inspiringwomen.editor@fawco.org

I first met Rick at the Frankfurt IM where he was

Mr. Video for the conference and then some

of us got to know him better in ‘the back of

From The Cover Coordinator

The cover photo for this issue is an image of Christine Federspiel-Huvos

who is a singer and member of AWC Zurich, Switzerland. She attracts

diverse audiences with her original interpretation of French chansons,

American musicals, jazz and blues. The cover shows her in Zürich during

her last gala concert which benefitted the Lebensfreude Foundation.

If you have a photo that you would like to see on a future cover of

Inspiring Women, you can reach me, Marie-Bénédicte Luxem, at

inspiringwomen.cover@fawco.org. There are full details of photo

requirements on page 72 of this magazine. Please note: we can only

accept portrait orientation images.

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“Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It's transporting, for sure. It

can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things

happened in your life. It's uplifting, it's encouraging, it's strengthening.”

Aretha Franklin

Music has its own language of symbols and numbers. A piece of music

achieves greatness when it disrupts time. Who are those that dare to

create the language, the sound, the movement that enters the most

private parts of an individual’s soul? Is music their passion or salvation?

They say those with musical talent have a gift - how did they receive it?

The people profiled in this issue have astonishing talent; they share with us

their stories of how they came to music (or how it came to them). How

do they find the balance between containing and controlling their talent

and stoking the fire of creativity to achieve artistic success? Some of our

profilees have chosen to guide others in maximizing their musical abilities;

they share with us their stories of what musical success means to them.

This issue also includes our first profilee for whom the “Inspiring” in our

magazine’s title could be considered a verb and not an adjective…we

are so excited to be able to include this person!

And if that isn’t enough, for your enjoyment we have added SOUND as a

new element to your online experience! Just look for the boxes, click and

enjoy as our profilees perform their music!

Finally, I wish all of you a very happy holiday

season!

Elsie Bose

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England: A Lover of Mozart!

ROBIN SMIRNOV

Chilterns American Women’s Club

International, England

From: Little Meadows, Pennsylvania

Lives: Amersham, Buckinghamshire, UK

love affair with performing.

I grew up in Little Meadows, Pennsylvania, which is a

beautiful, very rural area, and my family can’t seem

to remember a time when I wasn’t singing

constantly! I was in my first opera when I was just four

years old. I was a gorgeous little gingerbread cookie

in the children’s chorus of Hansel and Gretel. I loved

everything about it – the hair, makeup, costumes,

music, the lights, the stage! It was the start of my

I sang and performed my entire way through school and went to university at Westminster Choir

College, a world renowned music conservatory in Princeton, NJ. I was surrounded by some of

the most talented and inspirational students and faculty in the world, and here developed my

love and understanding of everything to do with music, singing and performing. In addition to

performing in many operas and song recitals, our university choir regularly went on tour and

recorded albums. We performed many times a year with the NY Philharmonic, Philadelphia

Orchestra and the NJ Symphony at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, etc. under the batons of

some of the world’s most respected conductors.

These experiences completely shaped my

musical life and gave me the most wonderful

artistic foundation that I will carry forever.

Between my 3 rd and 4 th years of university I had

the privilege to live in London for a year and it

was love at first sight! I decided to do my

masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music

in London. My time at the Royal Academy was

absolutely magical and I specialized in art song

and languages. I completely fell in love with the

beauty of the melodies and poetry in French

and German songs. I loved performing song

recitals and oratorios and sang in my last opera

as the High Priestess in Aida when I was six

months pregnant with my daughter. I am a busy

single mom to Violetta and Viktor and I love to

sing for local charity galas and events, and the

parent/teacher choirs at my children’s schools.

My greatest joy is sharing music with my children

and passing on my love and knowledge of

music to them. Our house is always full of music

that we are either making or listening to (singing,

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piano, violin, trumpet and guitar) and

I hope I can help my children to

develop their musical interests so that

they can carry it with them for the

rest of their lives! Music is the gift that

keeps on giving!

My earliest musical influence was my

music teacher at school, Susan Lewis.

She is one of the most special people

that I have ever met and remains my

dear friend to this day. She was the

most amazing teacher and support!

At Westminster Choir College, I had

the pleasure of singing under Joseph

Flummerfelt who makes magic

happen with his conducting. He has

a very special, soft artistry that brings the most beautiful sounds and musical moments out of his

singers. The lessons he taught me about music while singing in his choir are endless.

My relationship with music is ever-changing and

evolving as I journey through life... I will always

have my favourite memories and pieces of

music but, there is always room for more. I have

discovered that I can’t live without music and

that singing makes my heart happy. And

listening and watching my children sing and

perform music is my favourite thing in the entire

world. Music transcends our differences and

brings us together.

I would like to think that I have brought joy to

many people through my singing. Whether it be

in a concert hall or at a wedding or funeral, I

hope that I have touched the hearts of those

listening. That makes me proud.

When I am listening to music I feel it is pure

happiness and when I am performing, it is the

most wonderful feeling of excitement mixed

with a bit of worry that everything will go as it is

supposed to! But, when I see that the audience

is feeling comfortable and enjoying themselves,

I can relax into my performance. And the

applause? That feeling is indescribable….

Pieces of music I recommend/love

Strauss’s Four Last Songs for their divine

beauty of music and poetry.

Brahm’s Requiem for the stunning melodies and memories that I have of singing it.

Everything musical theatre for the joy and happiness that it brings, especially my favourite

Les Miserables.

The “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria Rusticana because it pulls at my heart strings!

And anything that my daughter sings while accompanying herself on the piano.... that is

my very favourite. Sheer bliss!

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GETTING TO KNOW ROBIN

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. I have a secret

love of pop music, thanks to my daughter!

If you could perform with, or meet, one

musician/group of musicians, dead or alive,

who would it/they be and what music would

you like to play and why? Mozart, Mozart,

Mozart! I would love to be surrounded with

his genius even for a moment. I would sing

Mozart’s famous aria “Porgi Amor” from his

opera The Marriage of Figaro and he would

accompany me. OMG!!

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I would love to play the piano and

tennis better and I would like to stop being so

busy. I would like more moments to just be.

Complete this sentence: The most unusual

place I have performed or listened to music

was… the most unusual (and my favourite)

place that I have performed was a little town

square on a mountain in the Cinque Terre

region in Italy. Overlooking the sea and the

mountains, it was simply the most beautiful

place to sing.

If we looked in your purse/wallet/pocket what

three things would we find that would tell us

something about you? Lots of different pink

lipstick, my very full diary and my sunglasses.

“Being a

musician, it’s my

job to be real

and true to

whoever I am.

Hopefully that

will inspire other

people. I hope

it inspires

people to be

themselves and

be comfortable

in their own

skin.” – YUNA

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Germany: Music for Children

MIEKE STOEL

Augsburg International Women’s Association

From: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Lives: Augsburg, Germany

I was born in Amsterdam and grew up in the east of

Holland. My mother was a good amateur pianist and

accompanied my sister and me when singing children’s

songs. So I guess I could sing before I could speak. I had

my first piano lessons at age nine. I got to know a lot of

piano repertoire through my mother, who played many

of the great Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and

Debussy pieces.

After finishing school, I started to study piano, chamber

music and vocal accompaniment in Holland and

attended master classes in England.

I left Holland at age 27 to live and work in Vienna.

Meanwhile, I had specialized in the field of physical

Photographer: Ran Keren

problems and worked as a music physiology teacher at

the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna from

1985-2014. One of the most important methods I had been trained in was the Feldenkrais

method – “awareness through movement.” Not only did the Feldenkrais method offer the ideal

tools to help music students prevent injuries, it also meant a real breakthrough for my personal

pianistic development. I travelled throughout Europe, the United States and Asian countries

giving concerts, lectures and workshops. Since autumn 2014 I have lived in Augsburg, Germany

with my second husband, the cellist Hartmut Tröndle. I work freelance, giving concerts with

various chamber music groups and singers as well as teaching.

Today I am preparing for concerts

with my piano quartet “SuedamA”

and will start a new project this winter

with children’s concerts. I have a

dream to open the road to music for

children through small concerts in a

familiar atmosphere, accompanied

by storytelling and projecting

illustrations from old fairy-tale books.

At the same time as working on the

children’s concerts, I work for “Live

Music Now,” a foundation initiated

by Lord Yehudi Menuhin. The idea is

that hand-picked young musicians

go to play for people who can’t get

to any live concerts by themselves.

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I credit my parents for giving me the chance to get in touch with great classical music at a very

early age. They took me to concerts, and there was also a lot of active music making in our

home. My mother played the piano, my father the flute and the cello. At age eight, I got to

know Schubert’s Winterreise, a piece of music that touched me deeply and had a great

influence in my musical development. Later, teachers, musical partners, concerts and CDs

became the sources of inspiration.

Through music I have gotten to know wonderful people and formed great friendships that have

lasted a lifetime (I am 61 now).

I think that to live with the masterpieces of art, to dive deeply into the spirit of the genius

composers, who – in my opinion– have given a heavenly message to mankind, is an

incomparable gift that I’m grateful for every day.

Even later in life, I have discovered that with a deep

commitment to music, one can still have great breakthroughs.

It’s amazing. As a musician, I am grateful for every little step

forward I am able to take. I rarely allow myself the opportunity

to stand still and enjoy a success or spend time looking

backward. When I am listening to music, my feelings vary from

boredom to anger to absolute admiration, joy and deep

attachment. Then while I am performing, my feelings vary from

anxiety, insecurity, and despair to joy, conviction, devotion,

happiness and euphoria.

GETTING TO KNOW MIEKE

If you could perform with, or meet, one

musician/group of musicians, dead or alive,

who would it/they be and what music would

you like to play and why?

I would love to meet Johannes Brahms and

walk with him around the Altausseer See in the

Austrian Salzkammergut.

Complete this sentence: The most unusual

place I have performed or listened to music

was… What was good and/or less good about

it as a venue? ….an open air concert during

the solar eclipse in the Austrian mountains. We

performed a symphonic poem by Liszt. It got

dark, the birds stopped singing. It was magical.

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I would love to improve in everything

that means something to me (cooking,

gardening, being a good wife, a good

daughter or a good grandmother, a devoted

friend and a trillion other things) and to stop

wasting time.

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Photographer Christina Bleier


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The world can seem like a very big place but for FAWCO women it is represented

by 62 different cities or areas. We would like to collect a photo, taken by you,

which in your mind best depicts the city or area you live in. It can be a place, a

landscape, a person, a cultural highlight, a culinary speciality, but most importantly

when you see it, it evokes your home away from home.

The Inspiring Women team is creating a special photographic collection of images

of our 62 FAWCO clubs, each image representing the diversity of our geographical

homes. The collection will be used in the IW magazine and, we hope, exhibited in

Edinburgh during our next FAWCO international conference.

So all you need to do is send in

your good quality JPEG images.

Please feel free to add some

creativity, your own artistic and

personal touch. Images can be

color or black & white and we

need them no later than

December 31 st , 2018. Send to

Marie-Bénédicte Luxem at

inspiringwomen.cover@fawco.org

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Switzerland: Reviving Peggy Lee’s Songs?

CHRISTINE HUVOS-FEDERSPIEL

American Women’s Club of Zurich, Switzerland

From: Rochester, Minnesota

Lives: Zurich, Switzerland

I was born in Rochester, Minnesota, on November 30,

1957. My father had gotten his first really big job there as

a construction engineer, after having obtained his

degree from Columbia University, and contributed to

building IBM’s “Big Blue” in Rochester, Minnesota. My

parents, both originally Austro-Hungarians, were so happy

to have been welcomed by the Land of the Free after

difficult times on the Old Continent. They wanted both

their children to be Americans; however, soon after my

birth, my father was offered a job by IBM in Vienna,

Austria, where my brother was born.

In the early sixties, my father was moved to Paris which is

where we spent our childhood, enjoying every minute of

it. Paris in the sixties was very glamourous and it was also

the city of French chansons. That is how I began to sing Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Gilbert

Bécaud, Barbara…relentlessly… in our living room! This did not stop me from learning all the songs

from My Fair Ladys, among other musicals. I knew them all by heart by the time I was ten.

In the early 70s we moved back to Vienna where my brother and I attended the Lycée Français

de Vienne, thereby not losing our French. It was during these years that I discovered my passion

for opera and started to train as an opera singer, taking lessons from the same teacher as Edita

Gruberova. Nonetheless, I was told by an opera singer that my voice was simply not “strong”

enough to sing at the Vienna State Opera. This was a huge disappointment for me, and after

that, I decided to forget about music and dedicate my energy to other things… or so I thought!

Once I left home, I studied in

Paris and got training as a

singer from a Parisian voice

coach who had been

recommended to me by some

of my Viennese friends.

However, at this stage, I was

no longer interested in

becoming an opera singer; I

wanted to sing French

chansons – and so I did!

After my studies, I ended up

working as an ESL and German

teacher at the American

International School in Vienna,

but I never stopped singing in

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my spare time. I performed several times on Austrian

television in the late 80s and early 90s, including singing

French and German ballads that I had composed and

written together with my mother.

After my divorce from my high school sweetheart in

1999, I obtained my TESL Certificate (Teaching English as

a Second Language), and moved on to teach French

and German in Kuwait, Frankfurt and finally in Zurich.

I met my husband, Dr. med. Urs Federspiel, in Zurich, at

the movies! Urs heard me sing at a charity concert for

the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund a few months later

at a café. After that, our fate was happily sealed. Since

our marriage in 2006, I have been working for my

husband’s medical practice as a secretary. But I never

stopped singing and have recorded four albums (in a

private capacity) in the past twelve years, thanks to my

husband’s support. Last year, on the occasion of my Big

Birthday, I sang with Pepe Lienhard’s Big Band at the

Volkshaus in Zurich. We had a full house with over 1,000

attendees and all proceeds went to the charity

LEBENSFREUDE.

I am presently working on the completion of two bilingual song albums (French/English) in which

I cover songs of well-known artists, as well as some of my own pieces. I would like to continue

working on projects together with big bands like Pepe Lienhard’s Big Band in Switzerland and in

the US as well as continuing to write my own songs, and exploring new musical directions. I find

that particularly exciting and enriching! I particularly love working on projects that combine

different musical styles, for instance classical music and rock – like Freddy Mercury did with

Montserrat Caballé when they sang Barcelona. In addition, I have accepted several offers to

perform for audiences in local hotels and museums in Zurich this year and in 2019. In other

words, it doesn’t have to be the Volkshaus every night…

I think that being able to make people happy by singing for them is a very special gift, and I am

very grateful for it. So, as long as I can, I will sing. But at the risk of sounding naïve, I have been

surprised by the competitiveness and the harshness of the world of music and have never quite

gotten used to it. That is why I gave up my dreams of becoming a “star” quite early in life. The

price was simply too high…

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But there is not just one

world of music, and that is

what I thrive on; making

people happy by singing

for them is my world of

music! Music has saved me

from depression and

sadness throughout my life.

Concerts for smaller and

larger audiences have

proven to be some of the

most rewarding

experiences in my life. It is a

wonderful feeling to give so

much pleasure to your

audience simply by singing


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a beautiful tune with passion and

exactitude! I love the reactions I

get when I sing. More

importantly, I love discovering

new kinds of music and new

artists in every field. It is a

wonderful and rewarding

adventure every time…

The benefits of this great passion

of mine have been more than

positive: I generally sing for good

causes, and have also

successfully gotten my friends

involved in theater and music by

founding amateur theatrical

groups at the schools where I

have taught, and within the

international clubs I have been

involved in. I believe my strength lies in my musicality and my ability to mix styles and perform in

different languages; these have given me the chance to create entirely new versions of “oldies.”

And, although I am well aware of the fact that I am no longer “young,” I feel young at heart and

believe I still have a long way to go when it comes to my creativity!

When I listen to my favorite music, I disappear into a world of my own. I can cry to the sound of

blues – a song can indeed make you feel your vulnerable spots - but I also find myself singing

along to my favorite chansons. I can also voice and vent my feelings of disappointment with

some of my favorite rock idols. In any case, listening to music is always a very intense voyage

and a particularly emotional experience for me. Someone once said to me that listening to

music should be like a ceremony celebrating the synchronicity of the sound and your emotions. I

thought that was very well put.

Performing is another story altogether, although this, too, is an escape from reality into a world of

my own. At the same time, when I am singing,

whether I am recording or on stage, I am a

different persona entirely. I am actually quite

shy so it is like a metamorphosis. And, of course,

there is this catharsis when the public responds

to you; all of a sudden, you have the sense of

togetherness with the audience. Someone

once said about me: “This little woman, who

looked so harmless five minutes ago, got on

stage and all of a sudden, it was like there was

an explosion. She was someone else and we

listened in awe!”

Pieces of music I recommend/love

Georges Bizet’s Carmen, is an opera I

never tire of listening to, and “L’amour est

un oiseau de rebelle” is an aria I would

love to perform in French and in Spanish,

combining different styles, à la Freddy

Mercury.

I would very much like to work on a

modern arrangement of Beethoven’s Ode

to Joy and re-write the lyrics as a kind of


ode to humanity and tolerance, in four or five languages. It could be performed together

with a flash mob of dancers, rappers, singers and musicians of different cultures, filmed in

front of all kinds of different places of faith with protagonists from all those different worlds.

We would finish the piece by all holding our hands up in an act of solidarity. I think

Jerusalem would provide an excellent “backdrop” since so many religions are represented

there. I believe it could also be done as a You Tube clip, using a few technical tricks… I

really liked Nürnberg’s flashmob’s rendition of Ode an die Freude in 2014, but I thought one

could do so much more with this beautiful piece of music. The Ode to Joy is a piece of

music that I never tire of listening to, as it fills my heart with optimism.

Another favorite of mine is Charles Aznavour’s song “La Bohème.” That song touches every

chord in my body. It is about youth and freedom and all the things I believe in. And

Aznavour was my hero in every way!

As already mentioned, Freddy Mercury and Montserrat

Caballé performing “Barcelona” together 30 years ago is

another inspiration for me in every way. I would very much

like to perform a duet with an opera singer.

And, last but not least, I love Peggy Lee’s songs, and hope

to get a chance to revive them within the next few years.

GETTING TO KNOW CHRISTINE

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. I am the coauthor

and photographer of the book Stalin

im Kopf, which was first published in May 1993.

My ex -husband and I interviewed survivors of

the dictatorship.

Also in the 80s as part of my job, I got to

interview Greek singer, Nana Mouskouri, on

the occasion of one of her concerts in Vienna.

If you could perform with a musician, who

would it be? I would love to perform together

with Quincy Jones who I greatly admire and

respect. My dream would be to perform

chansons, jazz, swing and blues - and perhaps

even some of my own songs - for a charity

concert. Perhaps even together with his

greatest fan, Swiss band leader Pepe Lienhard

and his Big Band. And since dreaming is not

forbidden, I am still hopeful that this dream will

come true some day, somehow, somewhere!

The most unusual place I have performed in

was: the Volkshaus in Zurich last year, but

mainly because of the circumstances: It was

indeed a huge challenge for me to sing there

on my 60th Birthday and our wedding

anniversary. We had a full house with over

1,000 attendees and people came to listen to

me from all over the world. The venue was

really incredible, but I only got a soundcheck

instead of a proper rehearsal, which was not

easy for me. But I survived…and it was an

incredible learning experience, from start to

finish. Truly unforgettable!

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at/things you would like to stop

doing? I would like to be more organized and

more disciplined. From an artist’s point of view,

I would very much like to continue learning

how to sing styles that do not come easily to

me, not just the “in-bred” chansons that

everybody seems to want to hear me sing.

I would like to stop letting negative people

influence me in any way, stop letting negative

criticism get me depressed, and concentrate

on all the positive energies I receive.

Then on a very superficial note, I would like to

stop being so gourmande, as I know I would

look much prettier if I finally got to lose those

dreadful three kilos!

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What to look for in an Expat Tax Preparer?

Tax season is just around the corner! You are pumped! And, like many American expats,

you probably have your taxes prepared by a professional, or have at least considered

having them prepared by a professional. When looking for someone to prepare your

taxes, remember that not all tax preparers are created equal. Here is my list of 10 things

you should consider when hiring an expat tax preparer:

1. Are they specialized? Like any other professional service, tax is specialized.

Expat tax preparation is not straightforward--you need a specialist. Look for tax

preparers that prepare only expat returns.

2. What is their experience and qualifications? Do they have any type of license?

How long have they been preparing expat tax returns? Have they prepared returns

similar to yours? You don’t want a tax preparer learning on the job on your return.

3. What is their review procedure? You’d be surprised how many tax preparation

firms don’t review thoroughly, or at all. We are all human and make mistakes. It

would be a shame to have you return audited because your preparer accidently entered a number wrong;

something that likely would have been caught in review.

4. Do they have a PTIN? PTIN stands for Preparer Tax Identification Number. Anyone preparing or assisting

with the preparation of a tax return for compensation is required by law to have one. No PTIN? Don’t hire

them.

5. Are they familiar with how the U.S. tax system interacts with the tax system of your country of

residence? It will reduce the risk of mistakes, and save time and money, if the preparer already knows the

intricacies how the U.S. tax system interacts with the tax system of your country of residence; including

applicable tax treaties and totalization agreements.

6. Do they speak the local language? It will make life easier if the preparer speaks the local language. This

way they won’t need help translating your bank or income statements, local tax returns, and the like.

7. Does the firm use in-house employees or contractors? You want a firm that only uses full-time in-house

employees as they will likely have been fully vetted and trained by the firm, be available throughout the year,

and be available to prepare your return the following year. Many firms use contractors and seasonal

employees during tax season, which leads to compromised quality.

8. What do they charge? Some preparers charge a flat fee, some charge hourly, or a combination. Make sure

there is transparency when it comes to fees. Remember, you get what you pay for. The better the firm and the

more qualified the preparer, the more you will pay. You likely won’t get a quality return for a few hundred

bucks.

9. What security measures do they take? Security is crucial. Make sure the preparer uses appropriate

security measures; i.e. secure client portal, encrypted email, password protection.

10. How long have they been in business? You don’t generally want to hire a brand new firm as they likely

don’t have their business systems and process all worked out yet.

I hope you find this information helpful when evaluating expat tax preparers! Good luck!

Jimmy Sexton, LL.M., is an expert in the field of international taxation, with an

emphasis on expat issues. He has presented to American expats at groups

that include American women’s clubs throughout Europe and is a soughtafter

expert for several news organizations, including CNN and the

Washington Post. He is the President of Esquire Group, an international tax

preparation firm and Premier Sponsor of Inspiring Women Magazine.

16


Germany: In the Piano Zone

ROBIN MELOY GOLDSBY

American International Women’s Club of

Cologne

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania & New York City

Lives: Outside Cologne, Germany

I grew up in Pittsburgh. My father, Bob

Rawsthorne, a jazz drummer, was the featured

percussionist on the Mister Rogers Neighborhood

program. Most kids in our community played hide

and seek, my sister and I played “sound-check.”

Photographer: Julia Goldsby

My first job as a pianist was at the age of

eighteen, working in a bar on Nantucket called

The Club Car. A lecherous nightclub manager

hired me to play five nights a week for fifty bucks

a night. I only knew ten songs, and nine of them

were Bach. I dragged music books with me to the

gig. I was clueless, but determined to do a good

job. I played for drunken yachtsmen. One night a

week was gay night. It was 1976, so we brayed

patriotic songs and had a Kate Smith singalong

contest. God Bless America.

In 1980 I moved to New York City and began playing in swanky hotels. My first job in NYC was

playing at Donald Trump’s Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station. I survived. My skirts were short,

my heels were high, my hair was big. I spent fifteen years honing my craft in Manhattan—and

eventually discovered my pianistic voice. I play gentle music and try to do so with some degree

of elegance.

After dating most of the eligible rhythm section players in New York (there weren’t that many), I

fell in love with bassist John

Goldsby. We married and had a

baby. John was scouted by the

Grammy-winning WDR Big Band

(Cologne) and we decided to

give Europe a chance. After

moving to Germany in 1994, we

had a second child. I stayed

home with the kids for five years,

but kept busy composing and

recording. I landed a cushy job

playing at Schlosshotel Lerbach

(a country castle) in 2000 and

spent the next fourteen years

performing there, every weekend.

I also produced a concert series

and an annual children’s musical.

After the castle closed in 2014, Photographer: Julia Goldsby

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I moved to the Excelsior

Hotel Ernst, a five-star

hotel in the heart of

downtown Cologne.

The plan from now on is

to continue doing what

I’m doing—composing

and performing

peaceful music. I’m

also writing a new

book, and starting work

on a podcast that will

launch in 2019.

My first influences were

from my jazz musician

father—Oscar Peterson,

Photographer: Julia Goldsby

Bill Evans, André Previn.

I think on some level I

didn’t want to compete with my dad. Or maybe I was disheartened by the lack of female

instrumentalists in the jazz world—“you can’t be what you can’t see”—so I began finding my

own style, listening to pop music. I loved Carole King because she played the piano and wrote

her own music. I also had strong classical influences, mostly Debussy and Ravel. The world of

instrumental music was very male back then; there were a lot of female singers hanging around,

but I wanted to be a player.

A life in the arts means there are surprises every day. I suppose I am delighted, but not surprised,

by the way music has gotten me to some of world’s most fascinating places. I’m still shocked

that there aren’t more female composers. When I attend the GEMA conference for top

composers every year, I am always surprised by how few women are in attendance—I believe

in Germany the number hovers somewhere around seven percent. That’s crazy.

I think that the world needs live

music! My piano style seems

simple. Fragile, even. But

effortlessness comes at a price.

Unlike many of today’s “internet

musicians,” I’ve spent decades

playing music for a real audience

with real feelings and real-time

responses. Because I am

constantly connecting to listeners,

face to face and heart to heart, I

know a thing or two about how to

create atmosphere. My

recordings are a result of this

expertise. Now, more than ever,

we’re needed. Recorded music

plays an important role in all of our

lives, but live music offers

something more. Because it relies

on the synergy of audience and

musician, it results in compassion

on both sides.

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I compose music and I also improvise. When I compose, I always start with a topic, or theme,

and let the music tell me how I feel. I edit constantly until I am satisfied. Composing a piece of

music is very much like writing an essay. Improvising is the musical equivalent of journaling—I start

with a theme and see where it takes me. Yes, it’s a kind of therapy.

I currently compose music and write stories about life as an expat American in Europe. As an

active member of FAWCO, I strive to unite women of all backgrounds with beautiful music and

meaningful words about our shared humanity. My new concert program, Home and Away,

raises awareness and money for the FAWCO Target Program for Education.

As a cultural liaison for FAWCO for the past eight years, my concerts have raised awareness and

over $40,000 for projects targeting Human Rights (Free the Girls/ providing economic

opportunities for survivors of sex-trafficking); Environment (Tabitha Wells for Clean Water,

Cambodia), and, currently, Education (Hope Beyond Displacement/CRP Jordan). My music and

stories motivate other expatriate American women to recognize their strengths while partnering

with their international

communities to lift up

those in need.

I value family. I am the

sixty-year old mother of

two socially-aware young

-adult Americans (Curtis

and Julia), both raised in

Germany, and the wife of

American jazz bassist

John Goldsby. I stand

committed to helping my

sisters around the world. I

believe in the power of

music, love and respect,

and the importance of

education for all of our

girls. I trust that our shared

strength and instinctive

kindness—along with our

willingness to speak up, to listen, and to stay committed to the good fight—will help us overcome

the waves of anger sweeping our global community. My musical and literary program shines

light into dark corners and encourages hope. Am I proud of that? Yes.

When I perform I call it the Piano Zone. I try to stay in the moment, reach into my quiver of songs,

and pull back gently on my repertoire bow. Time is on my side; equilibrium always returns to the

space my music occupies. That’s the best, most miraculous part of playing live—witnessing the

effect music has on my audience, and in turn, what they give back to me. When I’m in the

piano zone, each song, like a vote for kindness or a prayer for peace, carries a fleeting missive of

love to the neighborhood. When we connect with each other, we

are all capable of simple acts of grace. This is my idea of revenge

in a big, violent world. Music. It’s the least, and the most, I can do.

Pieces of music I recommend/love

Ravel‘s “Piano Sonatine.”

Debussy‘s “La fille aux cheveux de lin.”

Anything by Ludovico Einaudi.

Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” as performed by Glenn Gould.

A recording of my daughter, improvising on the piano when

she doesn’t know I am listening.

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GETTING TO KNOW ROBIN

Tell us something interesting about yourself that

not many people know. My music is

everywhere—it has been streamed more than

85 million times on Pandora, and is equally

popular on Spotify and Apple Music. My

biggest audience demographic is young

women between the ages of 18 -24. They listen

to my music while studying.

If you could perform with one musician, who

would it be and why? Prince, because he was

the coolest, most talented musician to ever

walk the face of the earth.

The most unusual place I have performed or

listened to music was… I played at

Buckingham Palace. I performed my Home

and Away program there in November 2017

for Prince Charles and 250 of his guests,

celebrating the 20 th Anniversary of In Kind

Direct, an organization that encourages

corporate giving for social good. I got to meet

HRH personally and speak with him. It was

every bit as fabulous as you might imagine.

You can read the full story about the palace

gig here.

I also performed for Chancellor Angela Merkel

in Berlin, but Buckingham was more fun.

Oh yeah, I played a concert for naked people

at the Mediterana Spa here in Germany. Due

to the man-spread of the guy directly in front

of the piano, I kept my eyes on the keys. My

husband tried to get me to play the “Hokey

Pokey,” but I showed restraint.

If we looked in your purse/wallet/pocket what

three things would we find that would tell us

something about you? My Bose noise

cancelling headphones. I use them to cancel

noise as much as I use them for music. Also my

Kindle as I am constantly reading. Writers need

to read, and I do. Then about one billion

photos of my kids, stored on my phone.

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I would love to get better at saying

“no” to projects that don’t bring me joy. I

would like to sleep more, drink less, and stop

worrying about sagging skin. I would like to

completely eliminate “imposter syndrome”

from my life.

Photo by Paul Burns, Royal Photographer

20


A Club Inspires: AWC Gothenburg

There are FAWCO clubs of all sizes and shapes across the world. A Club Inspires is a feature

where you will learn more about one of them. This time we are pleased to introduce to you the

American Women’s Club of Gothenburg, Sweden, from Region 2. Over to their president, Dorothy

Andersson...

The idea to start a club for American women in Gothenburg

was first proposed to the American consul by Karin Lundgren,

Consular Secretary, during the early years of the Second World

War. Although it didn’t happen immediately, in 1947, Vice

Consul Lamar Mulliner became interested and when his sister,

Florence, arrived in February 1948, a group of American women

were invited to the Mulliner home to discuss the possibility of

starting a club. Thus, the American Women’s Club of

Gothenburg was born.

The first meeting was held at Margaretabergskolan on April 1, in

1948, and there were 18 members attending. Through the years

membership has fluctuated, and the club has survived mainly

due to the American women living here because they are

married to Swedish men.

In 1987, we joined FAWCO, enabling us to have a more active

say on policies and legislation affecting us as Americans abroad. For many years, we have

awarded The Florence Albrechtsson American English Dictionary Award to Swedish students, as

well as hosting a student picnic for American Exchange students in Gothenburg.

For the past 10 years, our club has had our monthly meeting at the Emigranternas Hus (Emigrant

House). The Emigrant House focuses mainly on the topic of migration and is a center for research

and meetings between people. Its aim is to increase knowledge about migration, understanding

and tolerance between different groups and nations.

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The center is located in the Customs House

near to the harbor. This was where all the

emigrants left from during the great

emigration period between 1850 and 1930.

Every emigrant had to first pass the Customs

House to show their emigrant contract. There

were more than 1 million emigrants that

passed and got their emigrant contracts

issued before they could begin their journey

towards the new country.

The monthly meeting has a theme, and

recently, for example, we have had a guest

speakers who spoke about topics such as

getting a Swedish driver’s license and tax

advice; other times, we have had members do presentations on their hobbies and careers.

Membership in our club is open to American women and women who have strong contacts

with the United States. Our members are mainly Americans; however, we do have several

Swedes who have lived in the United States for a long period of time. We like to think we bring

together American women living in Gothenburg area to gain companionship, stimulate

cultural identity and offer assistance adjusting to living in Sweden.

There are annual elections for our 11 club positions each March. Unfortunately, we have not

had many volunteers who want to be part of the board in recent years - probably because we

are such a small club and many members have already been on the board - so currently some

positions are empty or members are doing more than one position.

AWC Gothenburg annual events:

Valentine’s Day – to mark the occasion, we host an event where we have a craft or make

something: for example, this past February we made chocolate truffles.

Fourth of July picnic – traditionally we get together around the 4 th of July to celebrate. In the

past, we celebrated along with the baseball team called The Gothenburg Sharks. We played

softball with them, and children tried out bee-ball (comparable to T-ball). This past year we had

a day at the beach with children’s crafts and swimming.

Halloween children’s party – this is an annual event and it is our most popular. We host activities

for the children as well as a trick-or-treat walk. This is open to non-members to help promote

membership. This past month, we also had pumpkin carving to tie in with Halloween.

Thanksgiving potluck – this year we are planning to have a family Thanksgiving potluck dinner,

and our members can bring their

spouses and family members.

December Lucia meeting – an annual

meeting that celebrates the Swedish

tradition of St. Lucia and the holiday.

Other club events:

Movie night –we rented a movie

theater salon for members and their

guests with popcorn and soda. This

was a very popular event and we

hope to do it again.

Our 70 th Anniversary – this year our

club turned 70 years old! We

celebrated with a luncheon at a

restaurant by the sea. Members were

invited to tell their favorite memories


of the club. A lot of comments were about the

friendships that have been made due to the

club and the laughter. It was a beautiful day

where we enjoyed each other’s stories and

memories in addition celebrating the history of

the club.

Gothenburg Film Festival - AWC Oslo comes to

visit us for this, and it’s a great opportunity for

the two clubs to get together to talk about the

film festival and have dinner.

US Embassy – we are proud of the fact that it

was AWC Gothenburg that got the US Embassy

to make biannual visits to the city, making it

easier for our members and others to renew

passports and report births. We host a welcome

table and often have also had activities for children with crafts as well with learning about the

United States.

Charitable activities – last year, we raised money for the organization Operation Smile. We had

a raffle where we had themed gift bags. For example, since we had had the movie night event,

we had a movie bag that included movie gift tickets, soda and popcorn. The raffle took place

during our Lucia meeting, which is right before Christmas. We also support the Haiti Relief Fund

and had a food drive for a local organization that needed support.

Gothenburg is on the west coast of Sweden and is the second largest city in the country. There

are 20 museums, 12 tram lines, two universities, six restaurants boasting one star in the Guide

Michelin, and lately, the local beer scene has been growing; it’s now one of the hottest hubs for

craft beer. Also in the city is the largest amusement park in Scandinavia. In 2017, the city was

designated the World’s Most Sustainable Destination. So as you can tell that the city itself has

plenty to offer – and that’s before we even talk about the rocky shoreline and beautiful green

forests within minutes of the center.

Sweden itself is a beautiful place, and it is what I imagined when I moved here. There is so much

to see and even though I have already seen it, it is a delight to experience it again because

Sweden feels genuine. I especially love the islands outside Gothenburg and the islands north of

Gothenburg. I love spending summer days island-hopping, traveling with the ferry to the islands.

There are so many islands to discover. The sun sets after 10 pm, which makes the day so much

longer to explore places.

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Another favorite of mine is the Göteborg Film

Festival. It is the largest film festival in the

Nordic countries, with about 450 films from 80

countries. Visitors also come from many

different countries to see the films. (The

American Women’s Club loves that AWC

Oslo comes to visit during the film festival. We

love to see them when they come, and we

usually meet for a dinner).

The stereotypical Swede is a serious person,

but in Gothenburg, people have a way of

joking which is in the form of puns and with

irony. Why don’t you come and experience

for yourself? We’d love to welcome you to

our city!

Dorothy Andersson,

President, AWC Gothenburg


USA: 40 Years At The Opera

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I grew up in Chicago, the eldest of 4 children and

the only girl. My dad was an attorney and my

mother a visual artist, pianist and organist. I started

music, dance and theatre lessons at 7; harp lessons

at 13; and my formal voice training started at 16.

I was a double major in harp and voice in college,

first at Northwestern University and later the University

of Illinois. I sang in a few summer opera programs

during college and then auditioned for baritone Tito

Gobbi and vocal coach Luigi Ricci, both of Rome, at

the Lyric Opera in Chicago. They encouraged me to

move to Italy at the beginning of 1974 to study with

them, before I had completed my degree. (I did

eventually graduate!) Two years later, Maestro

Gobbi and his wife, Tilde, arranged for the director of

Opera Forum in Enschede, NL to hear me sing and I was hired for my first engagement in 1976.

They also introduced me to the opera company’s first conductor, Arthur Fagen, who conducted

my professional debut, as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and whom I married in 1978. We had 2

daughters (Alicia, born in NL and Rebecca, in BE) while I continued to sing operas and concerts

in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Israel. When we lived in Belgium in 1984, I joined

the American Women’s Club in Antwerp, while I was singing at the Opera Voor Flanderen. My

operatic career was full-time for 13 years,

mostly abroad.

When we moved back to the States in

1986, I still continued to sing, but found

the traveling, with our children in school,

quite difficult while my husband was

traveling for work as well. I wound down

singing full-time, but was still ambitious for

a career and went to law school from

1990-93. I practiced law briefly and then

had our 3 rd daughter (Gabriela, in NY –

we missed having the BeNeLux kids by

one). When I returned to work a few

years later, it was as a law school

administrator. Throughout all of this time, I

continued to sing benefit concerts and

some symphony concerts in and around

NY. Then in 2002, we returned to

Germany. My husband was appointed

General Music Director in Dortmund and

PAULETTE BERMAN FAGEN

FAUSA Member (formerly of American Women’s

Club of Düsseldorf)

From: Chicago, IL

Lives: Bloomington, IN and Atlanta, GA


we settled 70 km away, in Düsseldorf, to be near an

International School and the American Women’s

Club (AWCD). I continued to sing benefit concerts,

holiday concerts with the Dortmund Orchestra,

events for the AWCD, as well as for the Gala

evening of the 2006 Biennial FAWCO Conference

which took place in Berlin.

When we repatriated a second time, in 2007, I

joined FAUSA right away and was grateful to be

one of FAWCO’s representatives to the UN

Economic and Social Council in NY. But we moved

to Bloomington, Indiana shortly afterwards for my

husband to join the faculty of IU’s music school,

where he is chair of orchestral conducting. My last

professional engagement was as the Soprano

soloist in Mahler’s Second Symphony with the New

Mexico Philharmonic in Albuquerque, shortly after

my 60 th birthday, 6 years ago. Since that time,

because of our involvement in the IU music school,

summer opera programs abroad, as well as the

Atlanta opera, where my husband is music director,

I come into contact with, coach and advise many

young singers, though I don’t maintain a voice

studio. In addition, our youngest daughter,

Gabriela, is a grad student at IU in vocal

performance. (She was the winner of FAWCO’s 2015 Viola Wheeler Arts Education award.)

Today I continue working with voice students. I certainly love giving moral support and advice to

many of the talented young singers we meet. I’m fortunate that through my husband’s work and

my daughter’s operatic aspirations, I continue to keep all that I have learned in opera relevant

to my current life, though it is no longer my career. And once in a while I dust off the vocal cords

to sing for charity or fun.

The first music I listened to and imitated, as a teenager, was that of Maria Callas. I later studied

with her frequent collaborator Tito Gobbi. He was a master interpreter, as was Callas. Every

nuanced bit of drama was in their vocal interpretations. Over the years, we have developed

friendships with many of the international opera stars, instrumentalists, stage directors and

conductors whom we once looked up to. It has been a very rewarding and continually

interesting life path.

I find the amount of information and recorded performances available through the internet

amazingly wonderful and, at the same time, intimidating. Students have such a wealth of

potential training to refer to, right in their computers or phones. Yet, it is almost too much, as it

needs to be curated to be effective. Young musicians are pulled in many directions. They also

have to be social media savvy and entrepreneurial. When I studied in Rome, I focused on my

technique and learning one role at a time. Building up a repertoire, incrementally, that served

me throughout my career. I did not have to show the world what I could do, until I was ready.

Today, I think there is over-exposure and constant competition for young singers. That can be

difficult, as voices need to be gently cultivated and allowed time to grow. The voices that are

the flashiest at a young age are not necessarily those that develop into “recording quality”

beautiful voices or those that fill a theatre with luscious sound, and if not careful, they often burn

out early. The fact that I can still sing healthfully into my 60s is owed to the nurturing I had as a

student – and that I didn’t overuse my voice in the past 40 years.

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Music is an artistic expression of

communication and emotion. If you have

nothing to communicate, if you are not

tapped into the essence of your being and

expression, the audience will not be

moved, no matter how technically

excellent you may be. But if the essence is

there, it can be magical. And that can be

so, even when the execution is not

technically “perfect.” Being in touch with

that essence is the most profoundly moving

experience as a performer. I truly love the

process of learning and performing from

beginning to end – and not for the

audience reaction, though that is an

added bonus.

I am not a passive listener. I once took a

sculpture class and the teacher played

opera recordings as background music. I

could not become one with my sculpting,

because opera is never background music

for me. I am actively listening to and

assessing every note, word, quality of sound

and tempo. That can be interesting and

satisfying as an audience member, but too

distracting in other settings.

I sang 36 different leading roles during the

active years of my career, from Maria in

West Side Story, in a year-long run at Berlin’s Theater des Westens, to over 60 performances of the

Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute. But, I am most proud of my collaboration with

composer Lorenzo Ferrero. I performed the world premiere of his song cycle Canzoni d’Amore,

written for my voice (I am a Coloratura Soprano,) at the Biennale of Venice and sang the title

role in the German premiere of his opera Marilyn, as part of the dokumenta VII modern art

festival in Kassel, Germany.

Pieces of music I recommend/love

To Listen to:

“Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin: I have listened to and loved this piece since my

childhood.

Brahms’ “Haydn Variations” conducted by Pablo Casals – my husband introduced me to

this recording early in our relationship, I continue to love it.

Scarpia’s 1 st act closing in Tosca, sung by Tito Gobbi. It was the first thing I heard Maestro

Gobbi sing on recording and live, at the first opera performance I ever attended at 16 years

old. It’s fabulous!

“Because I Knew You” from Wicked, sung by Kristen

Chenoweth and Idina Menzel; it is so meaningful and

touching.

To Perform:

I would love to sing Violetta in La Traviata, if I were still at my

peak. I have performed the aria “Sempre Libera” and the

duet with Germont many times with orchestra, but never

the entire role.

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GETTING TO KNOW PAULETTE

Tell us something interesting about yourself that

not many people know. I was a serious ice

skater from 8 to 13 years old. I spent every

afternoon and evening at an indoor ice rink,

through dinner and homework, until 10 pm

(probably a form of childcare, in my parents’

eyes.) I not only prepared for competitions, but

regularly performed skating solos and sang for

birthday parties at the rink. However, because

I started getting frequent sore throats and

loved to sing more than skate, I stopped

skating. Still, I think that the discipline I learned

skating and being exposed to the dedication

of my very accomplished peers was formative

in my approach to singing.

If you could perform with, or meet, one

musician, who would it be? I would have loved

to work with Mozart. I have sung many Mozart

operas – all masterpieces. I would have loved

to coach those roles with the master.

The most unusual place I have listened to

music was… in a large empty space in Paris,

Atelier des Lumières, with projections of

Hundertwasser and Klimt artwork on the

concrete walls. It was not live music nor the

actual artwork, but once I got over the virtual

nature of the performance, it was amazingly

moving to be enveloped in the multi-sensory

artistic experience.

If we looked in your purse what three things

would we find that would tell us something

about you? A handcrafted silver thimble in a

small velvet pouch. – I am a quilter.

A small pad of paper for notes. – I am a writer.

Crayons – I am a grandmother.

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I often have a hard time saying thank

you to a compliment. In singing, I was often

fixated on what I needed to improve and

imperfections in a performance. While it is

important to be aware of those things to better

your performances, it is insulting to the person

giving a compliment to have their words

negated and it also diminishes the

performance. This carries over in other aspects

of life, such as quilting and writing. I am

continually working on this. Just say thank you!

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Norway: A Note from Oslo via Hawaii

KATELYN SWEENEY CHING

American Women’s Club of Oslo, Norway

From: Kaneohe, Hawaii

Lives: Oslo, Norway

Music has always been an inseparable part of my

identity. When I was in elementary school I would

spend all of my time creating stories and

recording them on toy cassette players. It wasn’t a

surprise to me when, aged fourteen, I started

writing songs on the piano because it felt like

inspiration was flowing into the keys in the same

way they did on a typewriter. By the time I was in

high school, I was interning at a recording studio

and performing around Honolulu. I was interested

in many other subjects in addition to music, so

when it came time to look for colleges, I chose to

pursue a liberal arts degree.

College woke me up to the monumental depth of history and tradition in music. Prior to

university, I had only heard about major male composers and had no idea that living

composers, especially female composers, existed. I believed that composers simply woke up

with ideas in their head and poured them on to paper with flowing quills; in reality, the creative

process is often a combination of logic, structure, and inspiration. I began to understand why

there were so few female composers throughout the history of Western music after experiencing

how much training goes into becoming one.

Majoring in music was one of the toughest paths I ever took but I am grateful for it. In high

school, I was able to breeze through music courses and never had to study or practice very

much. College was a

different story. I struggled

to understand music

theory and nearly

dropped out of being a

music major after I failed

my first exam. The

textbook was a maze of

symbols that felt like it was

written in code I couldn’t

decipher. Thankfully, my

professors encouraged

me to continue and

helped me get the extra

academic support I

needed. Once I caught

up on the fundamentals,

music theory became an

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instrumental part of my

understanding of how music works,

and is written. Studying music gave

me the tools and context I craved

to expand my compositional

toolbox. I also started my own

piano school and worked as an

accompanist for schools in and

around Honolulu.

After I finished my master’s degree

in composition, I went to Los

Angeles to work as an intern at a

major film music studio. While I

continued to pursue a permanent

role in a studio, I worked as an

executive assistant to be able to stay in LA.

A year later, a shot of magic burst out of nowhere. The biology professor from graduate school

was publishing her memoir and it was on the road to becoming an international bestseller. She

asked me to compose a piece for the accompanying audiobook. While I was working on the

piece, her best friend happened to be in town for a family event; he ended up coming to the

recording sessions. We fell in love even though his job would be relocating to Norway. This meant

we had to decide where we would live.

Two years ago we decided to move to Oslo. So here I am now, carving out a quiet existence. It

has taken time to find out how to get immersed in the music scene here, but there have been

small successes. Most recently, one of my songs was selected as a winner in a contest for

Scandic Hotels.

I miss the music community I had in Honolulu and Los Angeles, but am trying to develop

relationships here while also balancing intensive language courses and a full-time job in a

startup. Growing up, I was told relentlessly that music is a tough industry to be in, and yet, I

persevered. However, after a decade of not having health insurance, a dependable stream of

income, retirement, and working night hours, I decided to find steady income outside the

industry so that I can write on my own terms. Regardless, creating music will remain an integral

part of my being, whether or not anyone out there is listening. I find that a room filled with

candlelight while the darkness and cold rages outside sparks my creativity.

I’m currently working on an

album that is inspired by the

history of 19 th century migrant

workers in Hawai’i. I’m

fascinated by the impact the

sugar industry had on the

contemporary political and

cultural makeup of the islands

and am exploring these

themes in my writing. My

great-great grandparents

came from Canton, China to

work as sugarcane plantation

workers, so the project has a

personal connection for me.

29


Pieces of music I recommend/love

Scarlet’s Walk, Tori Amos.

Symphony no. 9 in E minor, Dvořák.

Ola Gjeilo, Ola Gjeilo.

String Quartet in F major, Maurice Ravel.

Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi– The Four Seasons;

Max Richter.

CLICK HERE TO

HEAR KATELYN

GETTING TO KNOW KATELYN

Tell us something interesting about yourself that

not many people know. I am fairly sure I never

tried a hamburger until I was over 25.

If we looked in your purse/wallet/pocket, what

three things would we find that would tell us

something about you? 3 different highlighters

in peach shades (easier on the eyes and yet

also helps important materials stand out),

about 4 lip balms (always chapped lips up

here) and my textbooks for Norwegian class

(this has been my life for two years!)

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I would like to continue to get better at

composing and teaching. There is endless

need for improvement.

Happy Holidays! Happy Pajama Days!

30

Nothing says “you’re my favorite” more than the

gift of pajamas. The Pajama Company has

something for everyone on your gift list-including

you! Visit our website to see our collections of

nightshirts, PJ bottoms, matching sets for the whole

family and more! There is no time to waste!

Whether it’s something for a serious sleeper or for

your cuddle buddy, pajamas are a “warm hug” to

family and friends.

Ellie Badanes, FAUSA Member and The Pajama

Company Founder


If I were a musical instrument I would be...

..a piano. I

used to love

improvising on

the piano

when I was

young, in spite

of the fact

that when I was a child, my teacher in

Vienna – a petite but energetic elderly

lady - would actually take a ruler and

beat my fingers whenever I got a tone

wrong!

CHRSTINE FEDERSPIEL

..a cello for sure! A cello is

beautiful and curvy and

makes the most divine

dark and powerful sounds.

Girl power at its best!

ROBIN SMIRNOV

..a French horn. The

sounds are so rich, and

they come from more

than ten feet of pipe.

RICK CHIZMADIA

..a saxophone because the sound gets people’s

attention. It is so beautiful and it can go from low to

high. You can swing

me low and then up

high. I am a beautiful

instrument and my

sound is unique. I can

make any band

sound outstanding.

BEVERLY MINOR

...a drum kit. If I was his drum kit, I could

shout when he misses a beat: my

husband has had the desire to learn for

many years, but he has not discovered

how he needs to walk before he can

run.

MARGARET HILDITCH

...played by the right musician, a cello. The

sound is so rich and sonorous. The cello can

sing, support, be delicate and resonate

through the theatre. Beautiful cello playing

can move me to tears.

PAULETTE FAGEN

...a piano, of course. An orchestra in its own

right, the piano is the most female of all

instruments – a multi-tasker capable of a wide

range of emotions

and fascinating

stories.

ROBIN MELOY

GOLDSBY

31


Austria: Singing for the Lord

I grew up in Woodville, Mississippi, on a farm, one of

eleven children. My family had horses, cows, hogs, goats,

dogs and cats. I had a pet pig called Tiny. My father had

a large garden and he raised potatoes, corn and sugar

cane. He also worked in a factory. My church did not

have a piano so the old people used to pat their feet

and clap their hands. We did not have a choir and kids

in the church were never given the opportunity to sing. I

joined the high school marching band where I played

the saxophone.

Growing up I loved to listen to music, but never

envisioned myself as a singer because I was very shy and

did not believe I was musically inclined. My family did not

have a TV so I often listened to Motown music on the

radio; my favorite singers were Aretha Franklin, Natalie

Cole and the Staple Singers. I still listen to the same people today with the addition of the

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

I left home at 18 to attend Alcorn State University where I studied office administration. I also

joined the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. One of the girls said that I sang as though I had a frog in my

throat and she hated it when I even sang background. Not an easy thing to hear!

After graduating from the University, I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, to live with my brothers.

Two of them sang in a gospel singing group along with a cousin and asked me to join them. I

loved gospel music but

didn't think I was gifted

enough to sing.

Eventually, I joined

them and my voice

begin to develop. After

my early experience it

surprised me when

people said they liked

my singing. I eventually

joined a church in New

Orleans and began to

sing solos.

While living in New

Orleans, I started to

participate with church

groups traveling

BEVERLY MINOR

American Women’s Association of Vienna, Austria

From: Mississippi, USA

Lives: Vienna, Austria

32


abroad on short-term mission

journeys. My first trip was to

Ryazan, Russia, where I

evangelized, sang solos and

accompanied a praise and

worship team. Some years later, I

relocated to Georgia and

attended First Baptist Church of

Atlanta. I joined the choir and

sometimes sang on In Touch

Ministries, which was broadcast

nationally and internationally. I

became quite popular and

began to sing at weddings,

funerals and Christmas parties,

etc. During this period, I

continued to travel abroad

singing with a group.

After taking an early retirement from Delta Air Lines, I went on to work as a banker for Wells

Fargo and Fidelity National Bank. Then in 2013, a Polish choir (Gospel Joy), asked me to join

them in Poland for a year as one of their lead singers. I had often considered moving to Europe

but did not know how it could happen. I was able to get monetary support from my church,

family and friends and so by the end of that year, I felt secure enough to resign from my place

of employment, put my furniture in storage, rent my house and say goodbye to my family. In

January 2014, I was off to Poznan, Poland.

When the year ended, I moved to Vienna, Austria and now I work as a Ministry Assistant at the

Christian International Church, which is located in the 10 th District. I am a song leader in my

church and I also formed a small group which is called Soundz of Joy.

When I got to Vienna I had googled “choirs in Vienna” and lo and behold, there was the

Longfield Gospel Choir. So, I joined two of the Longfield choirs and have traveled with them

singing in Denmark, Germany and all over Austria. It is always special to me when the AWA

Vienna ladies attend our concerts, especially when we sang at St. Stephen's Cathedral. The

Longfield Choirs (a total of four choirs under the same director) just completed a CD and I am

a song leader on three of the songs.

33

I enjoy living in Vienna and

think that singing is the best job

in the world. Singing gospel

songs is right in my element

and I hope, in the future, to get

trained so I could add some

Christian jazz to my genre. My

dream would be to travel

round the world singing with a

small band. Over the years I

have had the opportunity to

travel around the world and

sing: from the streets of Hong

Kong to Argentina and Chile,

to Costa Rica and many

places in the USA, to Canada

to Egypt and many countries

around Europe.


It feels good when someone in one of

these countries remembers me and

some still extend an invitation to come

back to see them.

I would also like to learn to play my

saxophone better and include it when I

sing. When I sing, I put my whole being

into what I am singing because I want

the audience to believe and feel the

message in the music.

Pieces of music I recommend/love

The Easter version of Leonard

Cohen's song “Hallelujah.” It is a

classic, many people love this song

and they sing it all over the world.

The same for “O Happy Day” and “Amazing Grace.”

I recently recorded “Sometimes I Feel Live A Motherless

Child” and I would love to share it with the world.

The song “He's An On Time God” brings out the tiger in me

and I love it when the audience goes wild when I sing it. I

love a lot of the old classics.

GETTING TO KNOW BEVERLY

Tell us something interesting about yourself that

not many people know. When I am done

singing, I just want to run off the stage and

hide. I actually sometimes get a bit shy when

people applaud.

If you could perform with, or meet, one

musician, who would it be? I would have loved

to meet Whitney Houston. She was a great

34

singer and it would have been an honor to sing

with her. Mariah Carey is also one of my all time

favorite singers. I would love to sing a duet with

her but I would have to sing lower notes. Her

voice is outstanding.

The most unusual place I have listened to music

was… I traveled to Santiago, Chile, on a

medical mission trip and a popular singer was

doing a concert at the tennis stadium. I knew

one of the sponsors. When

I arrived at the stadium, I

was asked to also sing

before over 5000 people

and it was impromptu. I did

quite well.

What are some of the

things you would love to

get better at and things

you would like to stop

doing? I would love to get

better at doing runs and

remembering song lyrics. I

would love to stop getting

nervous when performing

a new song because I

sometimes think that I will

forget the lyrics.


Switzerland: A Life Of Jazz

I grew up in a family of five children. My parents

were hotel owners in Bern, Switzerland and Greece.

At our villa, they regularly hosted guests from all

over the world, which encouraged us children to

use many different languages from as early as five

years old. Besides going to school, I learned to play

classical piano.

But then I discovered Bill Haley's “Rock Around The

Clock,” which my parents brought back for us from

a trip to the USA in 1956. In the mid-sixties I heard

Erroll Garner perform live for the first time. From

then, this was "my music." Erroll had such a distinct

way of playing, after the first few notes one

recognized him instantly.

After graduating with a degree in interior architecture, I started my first job with an architect

who specialized in hotel developments in Copenhagen, Denmark. There, in 1969, I heard Miles

Davis life at Tivoli Concert Hall. Then, in the early seventies I lived for four years in Singapore,

where I founded my first own company. Then I

moved to Hong Kong, where my new design

company developed hotel projects all over the

world for the next 25 years. Over these years, my

interest in classical music diminished and was

replaced by the love of jazz. The more I listened

to the various styles in jazz and was surrounded

by top jazz musicians talking about their music,

the more profound comprehension I acquired of

the genre itself. I consider myself extremely lucky

to have received such privileges almost my

entire life.

In 1990, I returned to my hometown of Bern, and

my husband and I bought the 8000 m² property,

Innere Enge, Bern which today has become the

Unique Jazz Hotel. It has a total of 26

guestrooms, as well as the Brasserie Josephine,

the world- renowned Marians Jazzroom, the

Parc Café and a minigolf course.

For many years, my husband has invited

international jazz legends such as Oscar

Peterson, Lionel Hampton, Ahmad Jamal, Clark

MARIANNE GAUER ZURBRÜGG

American Women’s Club of Bern, Switzerland

From: Bern, Switzerland

Lives: Bern, Switzerland

35


Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis and many more to perform at his Jazzfestival Bern. We still

continue with our involvement in the world of jazz to this day by hosting over 350 concerts per

year at our Jazzroom, bringing today's most famous jazz musicians to Bern. We are also thrilled

to discover young jazz talents. For example, during our International Jazzfestival Bern (March to

May), we offer a platform for students from the New School and Juilliard in New York - and

more recently, Berklee College of Music - a chance to perform too.

I have been the happiest "hostess" to all the musicians, while my husband, Hans Zurbrügg, who

started the Jazzfestival Bern in the first place 43 years ago – and now his son Benny, who has

been in charge for the last 20 years – have been the main organizers.

Jazz music is fascinating. You can only learn it by listening, not by simply reading notes. It

changes all the time, and there are so many creative ways it is being played. I am continually

fascinated by the constant innovative improvisation of jazz music – an instrumental

conversation on stage between musicians. There is just never a dull moment for the attentive

listener! Those "blue notes" or those "split second delayed notes" which create the most unique

tensions, or the "whisper of a sound" to the most "powerful tone:" all, at times, giving me goose

bumps all over!

GETTING TO KNOW

MARIANNE

Tell us something

interesting about yourself

that not many people

know. I was in China in

1968 during the Cultural

Revolution – four years

before President Richard

Nixon went.

The most unusual place I

have listened to music

was… It was at the 2006

Jazzfestival Bern, the

Blues & Soul summit at

the big hall called the

Kursaal. "King Solomon" Burke (one of the

founding fathers of soul music) asked for a

king's throne on stage. His weight was between

300 and 400 pounds. My husband

commissioned me with this task.

possible. Lights on : "King Solomon" remained

seated in his XXL wheelchair covered by a red

blanket; to his left and right were vases with 100

red roses. The concert started and thankfully

was a huge success !!

After quite some search, I found a very large

throne. It was an antique piece, and I had to

guarantee that I return it all in one piece. It was

transported to the hall with the greatest of care

and placed on stage. Solomon's daughters

insisted it needed to be fastened on the floor so

that their father would not fall over. It wasn't a

simple thing to do without using screws!

Finally we found ways, and everybody was

happy. Evening came, and one minute prior to

Solomon going on stage, he refused to sit on

this throne! We had to dismantle it as quickly as

36

If we looked in your purse, what three things

would we find that would tell us something

about you? My Mini Countryman key, my purse

and a quote from an unknown writer :

* Take your time to be friendly, it is the gate to

happiness.

* Take your time to dream, it is the way to the

stars.

* Take your time to love, it is the real zest for life.

* Take your time to be happy, it is the music of

your soul.


Germany: A Musical Teacher

37

I was born in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. I was the

only daughter and we lived on a farm. For my parents,

married in 1949, it was a challenge economically as

the UK recovered from rationing and the scars of World

War II. There were few luxuries. The installation of

running water was the first priority followed by

electricity and central heating much later when I was

approaching my teenage years.

Family life was happy and my mother was an

extraordinary cook and hostess. Social interaction was

mostly with our cousins and extended family. My

mother was a competent pianist and singer and well

known as a church organist and choir director. For me

personally, music was an integral part of life. Hearing

my mother sing was particularly emotional for me and some of my earliest memories included

singing in the children’s choir in our local church. Piano lessons featured too. I was more

dedicated to practice than my brothers, who had other distractions on the farm.

I wanted to teach from the day I entered school and sure enough, after secondary education I

enrolled to pursue my dream at Queen’s University, Belfast. In the 60s, music as an academic

subject was in its infancy in secondary education, but credit to my school, the headmaster

found a solution to ensure I could study music as an academic subject. I ended up studying

music and mathematics alongside education at university; playing cello in the college

orchestra; singing solo and choral parts in Gilbert and Sullivan operas; singing second soprano in

the madrigal group, and I had the privilege of conducting this group at the Galway Choral

Festival in my final year.

In addition to the

expansion of knowledge,

we had practical

experience teaching in

schools during each year

of study. My first teaching

post was in a challenging

girls’ school in north

Belfast. I can only

describe it as a real

baptism by fire and a test

of resilience and

perseverance to inspire

teenage girls about

classical music when

MARGARET HILDITCH

Munich International Women’s Club,

Germany

From: Northern Ireland

Lives: Between England and Bavaria


they had more interest in the 70s

pop group “The Bay City Rollers.”

We have recently settled in the

Cotswolds to be close to one

daughter after an itinerant life of

forty years. Initially during my

husband’s military pilot training in

the RAF, we moved around

England, Scotland and Wales.

Then in the 90s we spent time in

Maryland, USA, at the Naval Test

Pilot school, then were posted to

Bavaria for three years. After this

we went to Munich where we

clocked up another eleven years

before a final two years living in

Saudi Arabia.

Right now, my musical skills are percolating in readiness for a new challenge. This will include

the musical development of our four grandchildren. Prior to our first German assignment, I was

a full time Director of Music in a comprehensive school in Wiltshire. In Munich, I conducted the

Youth Choir in the church and introduced the idea of an orchestra that included all levels of

performance. My time in Saudi Arabia was greatly enhanced and inspired through teaching

twenty young musicians on our compound and acting as accompanist to young singers and

adults taking Associated Board examinations. Since our retirement in April 2018, we have

enjoyed connecting with live musical performances in Cheltenham and beyond. I love being

“home” where my grand piano adorns our living room and I can play when time permits. I am

watching and waiting to see how I contribute musically in the future. “Use it or lose it” is my

mantra. My teaching career has been diverse but I am proud of the fact that I have been able

to inspire and encourage many young people to stay committed to the challenge of learning

to play a musical instrument.

38

My first piano teacher was inspirational, and I

excelled under his tutelage. I made my debut

as a performer at Coleraine Music and Drama

Festival. I had no idea what to expect. To my

complete surprise, I won the trophy for the best

performance. A move to a different teacher,

who taught at my high school, proved to be

good logistically but not so academically. I

progressed as a pianist but not as a performer.

During our time in USA, my Canadian friend, a

flautist, encouraged me to have lessons with

Brian Ganz, a professional pianist and tutor at

Maryland University. The nine lessons during that

year were like finding a pot of gold. As an adult,

I proved that I could perform a wide repertoire

of classical music. I use the memories of this

time to inspire my desire to perform and keep

improving my skills.

At university, I discovered that I was a little “fish”

in a great big “musical” pond. Musicians share

such diversity in learning, creativity and

performance. Musicians cannot always


measure their success alongside the musical abilities of their peers. Often musicians are judged

by their ability to perform and little is known about the hard work and creativity that brings their

success to fruition. By the time I worked in my most challenging and ultimately dream job as a

Director of Music in Wiltshire, I realized that the musical success of all my pupils required me to

have a team of instrumental experts to support, advise and inspire all pupils regardless of

academic ability. Consequently, there was never an empty seat at my annual concerts themed

with drama excerpts to showcase the best of my Rock groups, the Windband, the Choir and

instrumental ensembles. This successful formula raised the profile of the school in the local area so

much that parents were choosing our school for their musical child in preference to others. The

highest accolade during my career there was the prize for the best performance of my senior

Windband at the Salisbury Schools’ Music festival.

I am very proud and happy that my musical skills

have been an inspiration to so many. I think of

Jessica, a six-year-old, who was most inspired

when I discovered she loved to sing as she

played; then Ross, a very competent and mature

young man who discovered the need to

practice; Jarvis, who liked to improvise, and the

boys who delighted in performing the Star Wars

theme in our farewell concert and last but not

least Jade, who wrote a poem about the

environment, performing it as a song with guitar

accompaniment. Elle surprised me most of all by

mastering the walking bass of her piece called C

Jam Blues.

Music breaks down barriers where other methods

fail. It can arouse memories, calm the soul and be

the inspiration to others to pursue their dreams. It

is important to hear live performances and

interact with other musicians to realize potential

and improve performance skills. When I hear a

haunting melody or a masterful performance, I

am compelled to listen and appreciate the

moment. I cannot read a book and listen to

music at the some time. Good music engages the brain to appreciate the skill of the composer.

Pieces of music I recommend/love

Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto. I love the melodic and harmonic structure of the slow

movement in contrast to the depth and power of the romantic orchestral sound.

“Blue Skies” sung by Kiri Te Kanawa, a truly wonderful vocalist. This song reminds me of the

sunny blue sky days we enjoyed in Maryland, USA, in 1991.

Franz Schubert’s Impromptu in G flat Major. I performed this piece in my teens. It is

technically demanding with rich harmonies and flowing chordal sequences.

“Hotel California” by the Eagles. This group is an inspiration to all guitarists. My youngest

brother found his musical talent playing guitar. This piece is layered with wonderful

harmonic sequences and countermelodies and yet the

clarity and sensitivity in performance is on the same plane as

some classical pieces.

“Silent Night.” To think that this melody was composed in a

little church is magical and inspirational. It is the best loved

Christmas carol in Germany and is sung unaccompanied in a

candlelit atmosphere. A true reminder of precious times with

family and friends especially at Christmas.

39


GETTING TO KNOW MARGARET

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. I am married to

an ex-RAF pilot and test pilot and have loved

every flying opportunity during our married

life. I have looped the loop and performed a

barrel roll in a Cap 10 (a small aerobatic

aircraft flown by the trainee test pilots during

their course.) In Wiltshire when my husband

was Officer Commanding the Empire Test Pilot

school at Boscombe Down, I had a wonderful

flight in a Luscombe, watching my husband

and a colleague simulating a “dogfight” in

two SE5, WW1 aircraft. Two years ago, I had a

magical flight in a motor glider in the Bavarian

Alps and this past summer, I experienced my

first paragliding trip in the Austrian Alps.

If you could perform with one musician/group

of musicians who would it/they be? I would

love to be the conductor of a large choral

event with orchestral backing in the Royal

Albert Hall in London. I had the opportunity to

sing there early in my married life and it was

electrifying to be part of a huge choral group

performing Handel’s Messiah. I would love to

conduct a performance with David Garrett,

violinist, who has fused so many genres from

classical to rock appealing to all ages.

The most unusual place I have performed

or listened to music was… in a bar in a

Galway pub. Standing on top of a low

table after a choral competition of all the

university choirs in Ireland, the spirit of

performance was very much alive and

each choir took turns to sing. One

madrigal in our repertoire was known by

everyone, so with drinks in hand we

celebrated the joy of music. Sharing this

unforgettable moment of friendship has

reminded me so often how music

transcends all divides; cultural, racial,

political and religious.

40


Spain: The “Singing Housing Specialist”

GWEN PERRY

Barcelona Women’s Network, Spain

From: North Carolina, USA

Lives: Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, Nr

Barcelona, Spain

I grew up in North Carolina, the eldest of five children.

My childhood was happy and music was everywhere:

in the church, at home and on television. I was

addicted to Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Louis

Armstrong movies and others.

I left home at age 18 to go to college. My family never

encouraged me to sing, so the first thing I did at

college was to form a 4-member girls’ singing group.

We were a hit. In the mid-sixties we opened the shows

of artists like Gladys Knight and the Pips, the

Commodores, Curtis Mayfield and others. We were

known as the Angels.

After college I went to live in Washington, D.C. My

profession had very little to do with my BS in Business Education. I started off as a file clerk in the

Department of HUD, went into their Intern Program and became a Program Analyst,

moonlighting on the side as a jazz singer in and around the Washington Metropolitan area. I was

known as the “singing housing specialist.” When my marriage of 5 years went on the rocks I

decided to take a leave from my GS-12 Program Analyst position to pursue my passion for music.

I left the states because there were more possibilities for me in Europe. I came to Palma de

Mallorca 42 years ago; moved around in the Mediterranean between Spain, central Europe,

Egypt and Italy until, whilst performing on Costa Cruises, I met my Catalan husband. I was

already living in Catalonia and have been married since 2004. My official name is Gwendolyn

Gilmore de Comas.

I will be singing until the day

that I leave this world, or as

long as God gives me voice

and strength. Music for me is

medicine, it’s magic, it’s

happiness and I love sharing

that with anyone who wishes to

listen. I am currently preparing

the recording of my next CD,

which should be released

summer 2019.

In the beginning I was

influenced most of all by Judy

Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and

Frank Sinatra among others.

41


I consider myself a female crooner. Although I sing jazz, swing, blues, rhythm and blues,

standards and ballads, I feel more comfortable with jazz and swing. I would have had a ball

during the big band era.

Music is medicine for me. Music gives me a natural high. I can go to another, higher place when

I am performing. It takes me a few minutes to come down to earth once I am finished. I enjoy

myself and try to get my audience involved on the trip with me. When I listen to music I meditate

and completely relax. I seldom attend public concerts. The buzz of people talking distracts my

attention to what is happening with or through the music.

Today the industry has become so

business-like. Even though I’ll listen to all

styles to understand and appreciate, I

can’t wrap my brain around some of

the modern techniques, like rap and

hip-hop. I guess I am just a romantic.

I am proud of how I have always used

my music in solidarity with groups or

people in need. I love aiding through

my music and using my influence as

someone well-known. In March 2012 I

was given the European Gold

Distinction Award for Achievements as

an International Singer, Humanitarian

and Producer.

Pieces of music I recommend/love






“My Way” because the lyrics tell a story, somewhat like mine.

“Everything Must Change” by Stevie Wonder, because that’s how life is - all things change,

nothing stays the same.

“What A Wonderful World” because this truly is a wonderful world, even with all of its

craziness.

“I Love Being Here With You” because that is what I dedicate to my audiences to let them

know how much they mean to me.

Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” because it is a beautiful melody with profound lyrics that give me

a sense of peace.

42


GETTING TO KNOW GWEN

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. Even though I am

basically reserved, I am an open book. I have

a sense of humor that sometimes sneaks itself

out of me. I love to cook and I have a

collection of more than 200 elephants. I sing in

nine languages, five of which I speak.

the level of my other languages and learn to

cook more like Master Chef. I would stop

giving all of myself to others, leaving little or

nothing for me. I must learn to say NO!

If you could perform with one musician who

would it be? That has already happened. I

opened for my idol, Miss Ella Fitzgerald, in Italy

in May of 1986. I was without words. I would

love to do a duet either with Frank Sinatra or

Barbara Streisand.

The most unusual place I have performed or

listened to music was… the venue was the

Nightclub Archipelago in Harare, Zimbabwe. I

was there one year after the fall of Rhodesia.

This private nightclub was owned and run by a

Greek Zimbabwean who was pursued by the

Mugabe government because he was white

and I was living and performing in an

ambience of reversed apartheid. It was an

interesting engagement and I was invited

back during the same year.

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I would love to perfect my Catalan to

Gwen with Ella Fitzgerald

“Music is an extraordinary

vehicle for expressing

emotions - very powerful

emotions. That’s what

draws people to it.”

– ANNIE LENNOX

43


USA: Dreaming of Accordians

RICK CHIZMADIA

FAUSA and American Women’s Club of Zurich

From: Detroit, Michigan

Lives: Cincinnati, Ohio

44

I was born in Detroit, Michigan and my early years

were spent in the Hamtramck Polish area of Detroit,

and then at 8 we moved to the suburb of Warren,

which consisted of mainly Polish and Italian families. I

am of Polish–Hungarian decent and 2 nd generation

American. Though my father is Hungarian, my

mother’s culture dominated my life. At the age of 6

my mother enrolled me in Polish folk dancing

classes. I absolutely loved it and excelled at it.

While in dance classes I was exposed to an

accordion. I was fascinated by its sound and look. I

loved how the bellows went in and out and the

diamond pattern on it changed as they did. I kept

asking my mom if I could take lessons. Her answer

was always the same – “no you are taking dance lessons.” I really wanted to play the accordion

and every night I would look out the window for the first star and say “I wish I may, I wish I might

have the wish I wish tonight: I wish for an accordion!”

One day my mom overheard me, and realized how seriously I was wanting to play it. She

explained to me that if I wanted to take up the accordion, then I had to give up dancing. She

wasn’t going to be driving the 10 miles

back to Polish area of town twice a

week when she had three other

children to take care of. I learned it very

quickly and excelled at it. I have always

been musically inclined.

My best babysitter was a HiFi record

player which I would dance to and

listen to music all day long as a toddler.

At the studio where I took lessons, they

had an accordion band program which

I joined at the age of 9. I was sent to

compete in the American Guild of

Music competitions with the band, and

playing solos. I started winning many

awards until I graduated high school. In

5 th grade I was introduced to the band

program and wanted to learn the

trumpet. We did not have a lot of

money so my mother said that I could

play my grandfather’s clarinet. We

discovered that it was an A clarinet and


not a B flat clarinet that was taught in the

schools. Mom would only let me play the

A clarinet because we couldn’t afford

another instrument. That was a decision

that would come back to haunt me later

in life.

When I turned 15, I joined a polka band

and played in all the area Polish festivals

and lots of weddings. I did this for 12 years

into adulthood. At 17 I started giving

accordion lessons to beginners. Music

was such an important part of my life, I

wanted nothing more than to play. I went

to the local community college to study

music to become a public school

teacher. I discovered while being there

that they did not accept the accordion

as an instrument in their programs so I had

to learn piano. Again, my parents were

adamant that they could not afford

another instrument.

My professor saw that I was a natural at music theory and ended up having a conference with

my parents and convinced them that I should take piano lessons so I could be admitted in a

program. They bought me a used piano and at 18 I began piano lessons. During those first years

I needed extra money to get me through college so I applied to be a cashier at Kmart so that I

could afford a car to get me back and forth to school. Jobs were scarce at that time, and that

was the only job opening that I saw. I was told by the HR department that men could not be

cashiers, only women could. I ended up filing a grievance with the Kmart Corp. threatening to

file a lawsuit. I was being discriminated against for being a man. My best friend’s father was vice

president of the company and when he found out, he worked with the company to change the

policy. This was my beginning as an activist.

45

Because they were forced to hire me, the

managers in the store were unhappy with the

situation and kept doing things to me to make me

quit. They made me give up my teaching job,

because it was “moonlighting.” They would pull me

off the cash register and make me do things such

as clean the grease traps in the kitchen, and even

scrub down the bathrooms and paint them.

Eventually they fired me and I filed a grievance

with the labor relations board, won, and received

immediate unemployment. In the meantime,

because of all the energy that I had spent fighting

them in work, my studies suffered and I dropped

out of school.

Being a musician was most important to me so I

started to teach music privately again and

established the Great Lakes Regional Contest for

the American Guild of Music, a contest I am still in

charge of today. I eventually went back to school

and received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Music

Education. Another thing that I did while in early


adulthood was leave the polka band and go on the staff at a big accordion school and play

in their 40 piece accordion band. This band would win national titles and we would tour Europe

every other summer and play in big concert halls, churches and piazzas. This is where I first

became a global citizen. We would stay in people’s homes and youth hostels and made

friends with other accordionists from around the world.

I was running the music contests and expanded them from 100 students in the first contest to

2100 students that would come from all over the Great Lake states. After my first contest, I was

elected to the board of directors of American Guild of Music (AGM) and ran their contests

around the eastern half of the USA. I have been doing that for 42 years and became their

executive director 5 years ago. At the same time as my involvement in AGM I grew my student

base from 25 students a week to 125 in private and group lessons and went back to school to

earn a degree so that I could go on to get a Masters degree in Arts Administration.

While I was working on my bachelors, I

met my husband Richard and gave up

the dream of the masters in Arts

Administration to stay with him and

concentrate on my students and the

music contests. I ended up getting a

masters in Multimedia and

Communications instead when he had his

first assignment in mid-Michigan. In 2006

he was transferred to Zurich so I gave up

my music studio and created an online

registration process for the contest so that

I could continue to run the contests while

living abroad. Thus I would come back to

the USA every three months and run three

contests a year and visit family at the

same time. Whilst abroad I studied the

music of Switzerland and France. Now in

Cincinnati I sing in the Cincinnati Men’s

Chorus, and play 23 gigs a year with the

accordion band “Squeeze Play” where

we play in nursing homes, retirement

centers and various Oktoberfests. I also

teach a handful of students the piano.

We plan to retire in 4 years, travel in the Airstream and take cruises and travel the world. I have

taken my accordion with me on the camping trips and performed at the campsites with other

musicians and on a recent cruise to Alaska, I joined the cruise choir and entered the Voice of

the Ocean competition where I made it all the way to the finals. I would expect that I would do

more of the same in the years to come.

Music unites us: We can differ politically, economically and culturally and it has the power to

heal us. I can go into the room, not speaking the same language – but still communicate

through music. I have a yearning to learn about other cultures because of this. My music is my

legacy – I am most proud of how I have touched and shaped thousands of young people’s

lives through my teaching and administration of the AGM music contests. Students reach out to

me via Facebook or they return to the contests and tell me how important that I was in their

lives and helped make them successful. I am proud of having achieved 50 years of

membership in the AGM, something that only 3 other people have done in its 117 year history. I

am also extremely proud that I am the longest serving person at the head of the organization.

46


I am currently the 1 st VP of FAUSA which

means I organize all communications for

FAUSA and annual meeting production.

FAWCO offers me the opportunity to meet

and network with other global citizens like

me and FAWCO helps empower women,

not only US citizens but underprivileged

women around the world. The foundation

work is very important and that empowers

me to remain a part of FAWCO even

though I have been back in the USA for

almost 10 years now.

Pieces of music I recommend/love






Anything Depeche Mode.

Anything Beethoven as I have always

related to his compositions and

admired that he wrote most of them

as a deaf man.

Any polka.

French musette music especially “Retour Des

Hirondelles.“

To sing – “Love Don’t Need a Reason” or any

Broadway standard.

GETTING TO KNOW RICK

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. I am on the

national board of directors of the Human

Rights Campaign and have worked over 27

years with this organization, helping to raise

over 3 million dollars to fight discrimination for

GLBTQ people in the USA and around the

USA. The flame to stand up and fight for my

rights and the rights of others started in school

where I was constantly bullied and almost

raped in the gym locker room for being who I

am. Because it happened to me, I have

always stood up for those who are bullied and

abused. At an early age I discovered that

women were not treated equally and I never

understood that. I have always looked at us

as humans with no differences.

If you could perform with one group of

musicians who would they be? Hands down I

would love to meet Depeche Mode and

perform with them. They have been my go-to

group since the 80s. I find their music is

infectious, singable and very danceable and

also avant-garde.

The most unusual place I have performed or

listened to music was… The most unusual

place I have performed was for a dance for

deaf people. We had to turn our speakers

and amplifiers down on the floor. The room

was utter quiet when we were not playing.

But when we would start playing the

attendees would dance to the vibrations of

the sound. That performance made me open

my eyes that a handicap does not and should

not hold you back and made me appreciate

those less fortunate than me.

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? Getting rid of the musician messiness

and artistic never being absolutely happy with

each creation. I would like to stop

procrastinating.

47


A Letter to My Master Teacher

48

Dear Professor:

How are you, and your children (all grown up by now)?

I hope, well. I am doing fine. I still live in France with my

husband Jean. We have three children – a 14-year-old girl,

and two boys, 7 and 9. It has been 23 years since you gave

me my last piano lesson. Can you believe that? So much has

changed in our world since then: I just “googled” you and

printed out your Wikipedia article. Imagine that!

You are probably wondering why I am writing you now.

Well, among other things, I am working hard to complete a

project required to receive my TEFL (Teaching English as a

Foreign Language) certificate. Its title is: “Writing your

Learning Memoirs: Learning to write English by reflecting on

the ‘Master Teachers’ who have inspired your past learning.”

As part of the project, I am writing my own Learning

Memoirs. You are one of my “Master Teachers,” and I want

to express this in a personal letter.

From time to time, little events trigger my memory of the two years I spent at the university

as a Piano Performance major. For me, that time transcended everyday life for I was

completely fulfilled in body, mind, heart and soul.

Of course, my soul was happiest my wedding day and the day my first child was born.

And there was the summer I spent serving God in the Peloponnesus in Greece, where I slept in

a whitewashed bungalow 20 meters from the beach with 15 teenagers and a fellow counsellor,

and we woke to a ringing Church bell and the scent of bougainvillea wafting through the

morning breeze. For my body, there is the happiness of first love such as I once felt for a young

soldier, holding on to his waist and riding down the highway, my hair streaming behind me,

ending up at an empty beach in late afternoon to discuss poetry and what it takes to be

happy, before swimming and diving through the rocks and then hugging each other as the sun

set. My mind was ecstatic when in the depth of my master degree’s tripartite business/

international studies/languages curriculum. And my heart is at peace in the arms of my

husband and with the soft touch of my children. Yet the dedication to musical and personal

learning, beauty and passion, self-discovery and sharing with other musicians, which took place

at the university, for me, fulfilled all of me at the same time – it fell just under the spiritual.

Professor, there is something I have

wanted to tell you for quite some time

now: You played an important role in

my personal growth. I saw you every

Monday in Performance Class and

once a week for a private lesson. You

would gently ask me to play the pieces

that I had been working on, and you

would then venture respectful, at times

even tender, feedback, with

suggestions for dealing with difficult

passages and interpretation, and

compliments on my playing when

merited. I felt free to ask you questions,

penetrating questions, and until my


appetite had been satiated, and you patiently responded, with your heart and mind, sharing all

that you had experienced. Your stable personality and honest outlook on life assured me that

you would tell the truth and never make fun of my efforts.

As any piano teacher and student know, the relationship is tight. The student is exposing her

innermost self to the teacher, who in turn has the responsibility to take this seriously and in the

spirit of confidentiality and trust. To attain this, the teacher must also expose his vulnerabilities.

Music school was the prelude to the fugue that is my life. And among the talented professors at

the university who opened the world of music up to me ‒ Piano Pedagogy, Music History,

Conducting, Modern Dance, Music Theory and Ear Training, and Piano Performance – you were

the one who gave me the most.

Professor, you may remember me as an academically confident and socially self-assured

young 20-something. You certainly would also recall my insecurity where my talent as a pianist

was concerned. Either I doomed myself from the start by comparing myself to the more

technically gifted pianists at the University, or I had a harshly realistic understanding of my

limitations and strengths and judged that they would fall short. I remember a time when this

insecurity actually paralysed me. The final exam in Piano Pedagogy instructed us to write an

essay about our hypothetical rise as a concert pianist by describing the pedagogical influences

that had allowed this to happen. I was incapable of letting my imagination run free because I

was somehow afraid I’d be publicly accused of telling lies if I were to imagine myself as a great

pianist. I remember this clearly because at this time in my life, I wished more than anything else

to be a world-class pianist.

Remember the day I asked

you if we could talk about my

future? We agreed that I would

make us a picnic lunch, and we

would eat outside. I think we ate

shrimp salad sandwiches, and I

think it was April. I recall passing

your wife in the hallway, just

before meeting you, and how

lucky I thought she was to be

spending her life with you – with

your kind way and brilliant mind –

and she told me that she hoped I

would find your advice helpful.

That day I had Rainer Maria

Rilke and his “First Letter to a

Young Poet” on my mind. I

quote: “There is only one thing

you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it

has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would

have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of

your night: must I write?” Of course, my question was, “must I be a pianist?” To be honest, I knew

that I was too weak and cowardly and scared to answer this in the affirmative. But I wished that I

could have.

We met at your piano studio and walked out to the front steps of the music building and

sat near one of the white columns, and you asked me what I wanted from life…. I told you lots of

things, the desire to go abroad, study other subjects, and to keep music in my life. I didn’t ask

you point blank whether or not I could “make it as a pianist.” Maybe I should have. I know now I

could have. Of course, I could have. There are many ways to be a pianist. I wouldn’t have had

to be a concert pianist or a university piano professor ‒ I could have been a teacher like I am

now, happily teaching piano, but a finer performer and a more knowledgeable musician.

49


Today I write my learning memoirs to find out if I am a writer. Unlike 23 years ago, my

question is not, “do you think I can make it as a writer?” I don’t need to ask you, Professor, or

anyone else, because I now understand Rilke, and in my most silent hour of the night, I know I

must write. The saddest thing for me would be to die before I got to write. And so I write.

What I realize now is that what I love even more than the piano is self-expression. Piano

allowed me to express my emotions. Today, I teach piano, but I no longer practice and perform

difficult pieces. With my limited free time it cannot be a priority. I am addicted to the piano

teacher/student relationship. I still find it to be incredibly fulfilling, no matter which end you are

on. For various reasons, I have turned to writing as my self-expression. It is really all the same, just

the techniques are different.

Professor, my mind has always found the most precious gift to be those interactions with

great and sensitive minds. Thank you for having made yours available to me. As you can see, it

has made a difference. I will be forever grateful.

With my warmest wishes always, Your Student

Jane Mobille is an ICF Professional Certified Coach, as well as a facilitator, editor, writer, and pianist.

Previously, she had a 10-year career in telecommunications and as many again in music. Jane runs a

coaching practice for individuals and organizations representing a diversity of ages, cultures, and

professions. She is a member of AAWE, serving as editor of its quarterly magazine. She also authors a

"Teen Coach" column at online magazine INSPIRELLE. Jane and her French husband have a 24-yearold

daughter, and two teenage sons.

“I feel like B sides

(of records) are

always better, no

matter whose

record it is.”

– ALICIA KEYS

50


Germany: Musical Theater Brought to Life

KRISSY DORN

American International Women’s Club of

Cologne, Germany

From: Bavaria, raised in Ludwigshafen, Germany

Lives: Cologne, Germany

I grew up in Ludwigshafen/Rhein as my parents’ only

child. My family loved classical music, but no one really

played an instrument or sang, except for my Dad’s

mother, who was a pianist by training, even though she

never performed. My Mom has a beautiful voice, but it

took her decades and a lot of persuasive work from my

part for her to finally use it and join a choir; she’s 80 now

and still sings in it.

As a teenager I taught myself how to play guitar when I

realized that I liked American folk, rock and blues much

more than Mozart (I still like playing an occasional

Chopin nocturne on the piano though). After someone

told me I sounded like her, Joan Baez became my great

role model and I would copy her singing style for a while.

This didn’t prevent me from joining a delirious punk band with the ineffable name “Agent

Orange,” but that's what you do when you're 17 and in love. Later with my rock band,

“Limelight,” we would play original songs with 70s-inspired, seemingly endless guitar solos and

funny keyboard sounds. But we had great gigs and critics would rave about our philosophical

lyrics, interesting sound effects and “Krissy’s soothing voice that made some girls stare dreamily

into the void." Yes, I know. I’m only quoting the local newspaper.

It was after getting my translator's degree and moving to Munich with the love of my life, who

became my husband, that I discovered musical theater through a local dance school. While

starting my business as a literary translator, I also started taking voice lessons with Bruno

Hetzendorfer, cabaret performer and former opera singer with a poignant dark Vienna humor.

Bruno not only taught me how to breathe properly and find my own unique sound; he

also introduced me to tons of beautiful

show tunes. Last but not least, he built

my confidence by inviting me to

perform in some of his shows and sing

backing vocals on his album.

By some mysterious coincidence I got

cast in the first ever and only German

professional production of “Annie,” for

the ensemble and the anonymous role

of the Star-To-Be who gets to step out of

the crowd to sing a soaring solo –

a successful debut for me, but sadly,

back then musical theater wasn’t that

big of a thing in Germany, and even

though I lost my heart to it, I couldn’t

quite pursue the path to Broadway.

51


Instead, another classical voice

teacher and a jazz band crossed

my path. Soprano Ulrike Belician

gave me a glimpse of what it

means to train a voice for the

opera stage. My voice actually

grew big, voluminous, and

operatic. Much to my teacher’s

dislike, I sang in a jazz cover band

called “Acidophilic” that played a

variety of music called acid jazz

combining elements of jazz, soul,

funk and disco. Astoundingly, what

seemed contradictory actually

worked together nicely and made

me realize that the human voice is

one of the most versatile instruments that can be trained to produce many different sounds.

My husband hadn’t even quite finished his PhD in Munich when he got a job offer that required

us to relocate to the Rhineland. I agreed, on the condition that we would settle down in

Cologne downtown as I had got to love the big city life. After relocating to Cologne and

pursuing my translating career, I got cast in a musical theater revue show, “Nights On

Broadway,” an ongoing professional production that kept me busy for three seasons, performing

everything from “Fame” to “Phantom of the Opera” and, yay, “On My Own” from Les

Misérables. Meanwhile, I continued to study voice with a renowned teacher from the Folkwang

School of Performing Arts in Essen, Noel Turner, who helped me refine my sound and build a

larger repertoire.

I've always enjoyed singing in bands because I love watching people respond to my music and

interacting with the audience. When I got the opportunity to join the “Joe Cool Band” and their

disco-funk project “King James & the Royal Family,” I didn’t hesitate. Performing and touring with

these guys was a great experience and worked well, even after I had my daughter Hannah and

went into the mom business (writing, recording and performing kids’ pop songs with Hannah).

At some point though, I got bored of singing other people’s music and decided to start my own

singer/songwriter project. I wrote a set of songs, played gigs in clubs and neighborhood cafés

and found a producer for my song “Babylon.” Meanwhile, I continued to further my vocal

studies, taking a master class in musical theater with teachers from the Stella Academy in

Hamburg, a master class in the

new Estill Voice Training, a song

writing class and more. During

that phase, I started teaching

students and found this to be a

very fulfilling experience.

52

And then we packed our bags

again and moved to San

Francisco. Singing and making

music have always been the

things in my life that kept my

boat afloat, but the move to

California took my musical

career to a whole new level. The

San Francisco Bay Area

welcomed me with a vibrant

and diverse scene of music,


theater and cabaret that seemed to be waiting just for me. I got cast in musical theater shows

and ended up doing a series of revue shows in San Francisco with a new company

named “John Bisceglie Presents.” Getting to work with so many like-minded supertalented

people made it easy to be creative and productive. I had the privilege to be a founding

member of Dominic Lim’s “NovAntiqua,” a vocal ensemble based in Oakland, CA, consisting of

some of the most sought-after musicians in the area. Eventually, I started to put my own shows

together, in an iconic piano bar in San Francisco, Martuni’s, under the wings of drag artist and

trained baritone Vanessa Bousay, who had become my dear friend and mentor.

Before long, I took a liking to producing shows on a bigger scale and created “To California with

Love,” a fundraiser concert for the Hemophilia Foundation of Northern California that took place

in May 2016 in Lafayette, CA, including twelve performers, two pianists and a cello player, and a

slideshow. I picked the music, picked the cast and

crew, the music director, wrote the script, and

performed in almost every number. Many of our

friends came to see the show, and I got the feeling I

was able to give them something lasting and

memorable, the essence of the time we got to

spend together.

While living in California, I took lessons with a former

opera singer from the East Coast, Loree Capper,

who helped me keep my voice safe and sound and

let it grow with all the singing. Working with her and

studying her unique teaching approach made me

want to pick up my teaching career.

In 2017 I started a three-year diploma course in a

groundbreaking new vocal technique called

“Complete Vocal Technique” (CVT) in the beautiful

town of Copenhagen, Denmark, that is based on

science and designed for all singers, no matter the

genre or style. Now that my daughter is almost on

her way to college, my goal is to pick up teaching

voice and establish myself as a CVT teacher/

coach. Of course, I also want to continue

performing – with the new projects that I started this year – an original band named “Sonic99”

and an acoustic jazz/pop guitar duo). I’d love to sing in a small vocal ensemble and I want to

put little cabaret shows on stage, just myself and a pianist and maybe a duet partner for a

couple songs, just like I did in California.

I grew up with classical music, and I’m grateful for this solid base and background. However, I

never really felt at home in classical singing. To express myself vocally I needed rhythmical music;

my first influences were American protest singers, such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, the 70s rock

and blues bands such as Deep Purple and The Doors, who were already considered as “oldies”

in the 80s, but very popular in Germany at the time. To this day, I love checking out different

genres and new music, and I am a great fan of contemporary artists such as Ed Sheeran or

Alicia Keys.

Ironically, I had to leave the home country of classical music not only to appreciate my musical

roots but also to find a bunch of talented vocalists to share them with. It was in the US that I

realized that my classical upbringing and training had had more impact on my musicality than I

thought. I actually started to perform not only classical super hits like “Pie Jesu” or the

“Flower Duet” from Lakmé, but also Schubert and Strauss art songs, and dared include them into

my cabaret programs. Today, more than ever, I am convinced that music is about story telling

53


and sharing feelings, no matter the

genre or style. It seems like the stint in

California has made my musical career

come full circle.

I always thought that the joy of music is

universal, and I still do, but I was

surprised to see that there are definitely

different ways of experiencing it in

other parts of the world. I never liked

the German concept of dividing music

into “serious” and “entertaining,”

implying that “entertaining” is somehow

of lesser value. Shouldn’t music always

be entertaining? Isn’t there serious work

behind every show, even if it looks seemingly effortless and easy going? American musical

theater is appreciated and loved for both being seriously hard and entertainingly light.

I love that about it.

Pieces of music I recommend/love

Any song from the musical Les Misérables because it’s an epic piece of music about the

eternal human struggle and universal values.

“Diamonds & Rust” by Joan Baez; I’ve learned to play the beautiful guitar picking a long

time ago and have loved to sing this song ever since.

“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, one of the most

inspiring songs I’ve ever heard. For me, it represents

everything I love about America.

“Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen: if there’s a song

that brings me to tears in a second it’s this one. And

sometimes everyone needs a good cry.

I used “Super Girl” by Reamonn in the soundtrack for a

video about my daughter when she was little. She will

always be my super girl.

GETTING TO KNOW KRISSY

Tell us something interesting about yourself that

not many people know. I dislike buttons with a

passion. Any buttons. Some call it

buttonphobia. It’s a thing. I googled it.

If you could meet one musician, who would it

be? I would love to meet James Taylor. He

seems to be not only an accomplished

musician but also a wonderful person. I

imagine it would be amazing to sing and play

music with him in his barn studio, harmonize to

his beautiful songs and maybe create

something new together. Other than that, I’m

not that attracted by stardom; I have sung with

incredibly talented people who weren’t

famous, and got just as many goosebumps

doing so.

The most unusual place I have performed or

listened to music was… a Holy Mary grotto in

the middle of the forest when my godson was

being christened. I sang “Summertime”

accompanied by an old friend and cogodparent.

It was a very special and spiritual

experience for me.

If we looked in your purse/wallet/pocket what

three things would we find that would tell us

something about you? A single dollar bill folded

Origami-style into a bird reminding me of a

very happy family trip to Hawaii; our wedding

Bible verses on a handwritten paper note from

our actual wedding day; an Apple SIM card

ejector pin; a membership card for my favorite

dance studio in Cologne.

54


Belgium: Regular Season Tickets

ANITA MEUWISSEN

American Women’s Club of Antwerp, Belgium

From: Belgium

Lives: Antwerp, Belgium

55

I grew up in a small town in Flanders, Belgium. I was

born to a Dutch father and a Belgian mother. We were

a family of four children, two boys and two girls. I was

the second oldest.

I had a very close relationship with my parents and

siblings. We lived in a house with a big garden and we

played outside most of the time when we were home.

My parents were passionate about classical music and

we grew up listening to baroque music and opera.

When I was eight, I started playing the piano. At

sixteen I stopped and became interested in listening to

classical music by the best performers and enjoyed

comparing different interpretations of each piece.

I left home to study in Ghent to become a translator. The years in Ghent were “student” years,

and because of this, music was less present in my everyday life. I met my husband William when

I was a student. After graduating, we got married and moved to Brussels. The city offered a

large choice of classical music concerts and is home to the opera house De Munt/La Monnaie.

We were happy to have season tickets to the opera house. Gerard Mortier was the director at

that time. He went on to become a leading opera director at different opera houses in the

world, such as the Salzburger Festspiele and the Paris

Opéra La Bastille.

Ten years later, we moved to Antwerp. Antwerp also

has a lot to offer. One of our favorite places is AMUZ,

a beautiful concert venue specializing in top-notch

performances of early music. AMUZ is located in a

beautiful baroque church in downtown Antwerp.

My husband and I take at least one music class a

year. Most recently, we did courses on Beethoven

and Bach. Learning about music teaches you about

the composers and how to better understand the

music by analyzing it, listening to different

performances and comparing them. It is very

interesting to see how opinions vary. We also love

going to live concerts. There are so many choices

today, and I think it’s the best way to listen to and

enjoy music.

My first musical influences were my parents. They

listened to classical music, mainly from the baroque


and classical periods, as well as opera almost daily. When I was sixteen, my parents took me to

Bruges to a live performance of the opera Il Trovatore, written by my favorite opera composer,

Verdi. It made a lasting impression on me, and since then I have adored opera. In addition, I love

all classical music between the fifteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Beyond that period, most

music is too “modern” for me. But my taste in music has changed over the years. When I was

very young, I listened to romantic composers such as Brahms. Now I focus mainly on music

dating from before the mid-nineteenth century.

I have been surprised in the last twenty years how classically educated performers mix popular

and classical music, resulting in performances in huge halls. It all means that there is a much

bigger choice of live music compared to when I was younger.

Music enriches life. It broadens perspectives and fosters the desire to discover more about the

person who created the music as

well as the country he or she lived

in. Music is influenced by society

and the time period when it is

written. Music expands horizons,

making you interested in so much

more than music. I am a

perfectionist by nature, and

through music this feeling has

increased; I will always seek out

and listen to top performances in

top venues. I hope to have

inspired others to listen to classical

music and to become as

passionate about it as I am. It

makes life so much richer. I have

inspired my daughter: she has

played the violin since she was

four years old and she is working in

a classical music concert hall in Antwerp.

Pieces of music I recommend/love

Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 62 (Yehudi Menuhin, violin): Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-

1827). The concerto premiered in Vienna in 1806. It took Beethoven only six weeks to

compose. It is a lyrical masterpiece of great creativity that clearly exceeded the genre’s

boundaries. The solo part becomes more and more impressive towards the end. It is a

unique piece of music.

Piano Concerto no. 5 (Emperor), in E flat Major, op. 73 (Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli,

piano): Ludwig van Beethoven. This is one of five piano concertos by Beethoven; all are

very beautiful. They were composed between 1793 and 1809, a fairly short time in

Beethoven’s compositional career. The Fifth Piano Concerto, also called Emperor, is

splendidly worked out and is a very inspiring piece. Beethoven created a new relationship

between the piano and the orchestra. In Beethoven’s piano concertos, the soloist plays a

far more important role than in, for example, Mozart piano concertos.

Double Concerto for Violin in E Major BWV 1042-1043 (David and Igor Oistrakh, violin):

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Bach shows us heaven.

Impromptus D 899 and D 935 (Krystian Zimerman, piano) Franz Schubert (1797-1828). In my

opinion, these pieces are among the most brilliant and moving ever composed for a piano.

Orfeo: Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Monteverdi was an Italian composer; his opera

Orfeo is considered to be the first opera ever composed. The Italian Renaissance was

coming to an end when Monteverdi composed Orfeo. It is a work of great intensity and

drama and is one of my favorite operas.

56


GETTING TO KNOW ANITA

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. I have the idea to

help out as a volunteer in an orphanage for

children in Africa or maybe to work on the

Mercy Ships one day.

If you could meet one musician, who would it

be? I would like to meet Arturo

Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995).

He is my all time favorite pianist.

Unfortunately, I never heard him in

a live performance. He was an

Italian pianist and he was very

refined in his playing. I would like

him to play “Ballade no 1, op. 23”

as well as “Andante Spianato” and

“Grande Polonaise Brilliante op.

22,” all composed by Frédéric

Chopin (1810-1849).

where I have listened to music was at the

Arena di Verona in Italy. The venue is magical,

especially in the evening. We went to see Aïda

by Verdi. It was a high level performance,

including a huge stage with live horses, but

unfortunately, the acoustics were subpar and

the music was lost.

The most unusual place I have

performed or listened to music

was… The most unusual place

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57


France: Vocal Jazz Parisian Style

58

I grew up in Boston, with a French mother and an

American father. My earliest memory is of drifting off to

sleep listening to my mother play Chopin and Schubert

on the piano. There was always music in our house. I

played the cello and my brother and sister also studied

music. My mother listened exclusively to classical music,

and my father listened to jazz. When I discovered Joni

Mitchell, I listened to her music obsessively, while my

brother listened to rock.

In my later teen years and when I moved to NY for

college, I focused more on dance than on music. After

college, I worked as a dancer and runway model for

many years, during which music was mostly something to

listen or dance to.

Then in 1980, I moved to Paris for 6 months to model and stayed paying for 12 years of storage in

NYC, before finally going through my boxes of college essays and shampoo, and shipping what I

really wanted to keep to France.

As my sons were growing up and I was trying to decide what I would do with the rest of my life, a

friend brought me to a vocal jazz workshop. I was instantly hooked, and after a few years of

evening classes, decided to seriously pursue music. I auditioned for professional music schools,

where most of the students were not much older than my children (and when I ran into them

outside the classroom, usually assumed I was a teacher), and studied vocal jazz, jazz harmony,

arrangement and composition.

I had already started my first

band and was performing in

jazz bars, but during that time I

wrote my first songs and

realized that songwriting wasn’t

rocket science and was

something I could actually do.

It was a means of expression

that felt incredibly organic,

immediate and intimate to me.

Performing my own songs

changed the way I sing in a

very profound way and I am

always thrilled when people tell

me my songs move them or

make them think.

KAY BOURGINE

Association of American Women in Europe,

Paris

From: Boston, MA

Lives: Paris, France


My current band is guitar, cello and voice, very intimate and acoustic and it feels incredibly

right for my music. I’m in the planning phase of a CD of my own songs. I now play regularly in

some of the best jazz clubs in Paris and hope to start touring in other countries.

I also teach voice and performance skills and lead frequent classes and workshops in Circle

Songs (collective vocal improvisation). I’ve been fortunate to study with Bobby McFerrin,

Rhiannon and many other

incredible vocal improvisers. I

work with professional singers,

amateurs and people who have

been told they can’t sing. I work

with adults, children, teens,

young people in college or

masters programs, older people

and business groups. It’s a

powerful way to explore selfexpression,

to gain confidence,

to find one’s voice, to learn how

one positions oneself in a group,

to learn to take the lead yet be

ready to drop it and follow

someone else’s lead at any time,

to learn deep listening skills, to

feel seen and heard.

My first musical influences were Chopin, Schubert, Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story, The

Gershwins - Porgy and Bess, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers musicals, and Joni Mitchell and

James Taylor. Then as I got older, I became fascinated by Soul Train and started listening to funk

and soul. As a songwriter, Joni is certainly my biggest influence, along with other singersongwriters

(James Taylor, Ricki Lee Jones, Suzanne Vega) and Celtic music. I still love all of the

music cited above, and Joni is my go-to music when I’m sad, but I’ve been discovering country

music recently and have found a few singers I really admire. I like to listen to jazz and Arvo Pärt,

Gorecki, Samuel Barber and Philip Glass, and go to many concerts.

Music is a universal language, spanning borders, creating connection and community

throughout the world, without the barrier of spoken language. I find there’s also a spiritual

aspect to songwriting and to collective improvisation, which nourishes me and brings joy and

meaning to my life every day. Through my music I have discovered that I know how to create a

safe space for people and I get deep satisfaction from creating that space and watching

people blossom. I’m proud to say that today I work with amazing musicians and play in good

jazz clubs.

Pieces of music I recommend/love

Joni Mitchell’s album Blue - because it has been my go-to music when I’m sad and/or

pensive ever since I was 12 years old and still moves me deeply.

West Side Story - which has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember and I

absolutely love it.

Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and “Serenade for

String Orchestra,” because they’re so beautiful. I’ve listened

to them hundreds of times and will hundreds more.

“Alina” by Arvo Pärt because it makes me dream.

The songs “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye, “Brick House”

by The Commodores and “Renaissance” by Al di Meola,

Jean Luc Ponty and Stanley Clarke, because they make

me want to dance.

59


GETTING TO KNOW KAY

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. I worked for years

as a backup dancer behind pop stars on

French TV shows at the same time as I was

walking the runways for top designers in

haute couture. It was quite contrast. And

I got my start in modeling on roller skates!

myself. I would love to be able to do that on

the guitar.

If you could meet one musician, who

would it be? I would love to meet Joni

Mitchell again. I spent an evening sitting

next to her once when I was 22, but I

was too young and self-conscious to

dare say much to her. I would love to

have another chance.

What are some of the things you would

love to get better at and things you

would like to stop doing? I’d like to learn

to play the guitar. I compose on the

piano, but can’t accompany

"You are born an

artist,

or you are not.

And you stay an

artist, dear,

even if your voice

is less of a

fireworks.

The artist is always

there."

– MARIA CALLAS

60


If I were a musical instrument I would be...

..a grand

piano. I

understand

the

instrument

better than

other instruments because I have

played it myself. The timbre of a

grand piano is bright and big. It is

a fascinating instrument because

you can play different notes at

the same time. Many of the great

composers were excellent

pianists.

ANITA MEUWISSEN

..a cello. It’s still my favorite

instrument….the one that moves me the

most deeply, the one I chose to study

when I was 8 and it’s said to be the

instrument closest to the human voice. I

love the sound it makes!

KAY BOURGINE

..a singer because I feel like I AM a

musical instrument myself as my

whole body is involved in making

sound.

KRISSY DORN

...a bass. On a

cartoon in Milt

Hinton's room it says,

“You can tell he

loves his bass

because of the way

he hugs it.”

MARIANNE GAUER

..my husband’s cello from now and

then. I would put all my love to him in

creating the most beautiful sound on

his instrument to make him happy.

MIEKE STOEL

..the french horn. It has the same lovely middle

range as the viola but it is an orchestral solo

instrument that embodies nobility and purity in

warm tones that carry over any instrument. It

has a beautiful design, very round, and is the

bridge between the woodwinds and the brass

in the orchestra. Chamber music is written for it

in combination with both woodwind

ensembles and brass ensembles. You can

have your cake and eat it, too. The horn is

never buried in the orchestral sound but soars

above it filling

the air with

hope and

beauty.

CAROL HABICH-

TRAUT

..the piano because it is the closet to the

voice and I would be able to interpret so

many

melodies and

play so many

songs. Then

the lyrics “I am

music and I

write the

songs” would

really be true.

GWEN PERRY

61


Germany: Life As A Viola Player

I grew up in Hauppauge on Long Island, NY. My

mom started taking piano lessons and I decided at

two years old to climb onto the piano and try to

play. I guess mom thought I had talent as I started

lessons at three years old.

In the second grade at elementary school, everyone

got a hearing test and those with decent ears were

offered instruments in the beginning of 3rd grade. I

did score second highest in the school but as I was sick on selection day, there were only violins

left to choose, so I started on violin. We had group lessons in school and played in orchestra but

my mom also got me private lessons. I didn’t practice much as I was interested in everything and

loved school, just couldn’t decide where to concentrate my energy.

For a few years I attended the junior championship program at the Post Washington Tennis

Academy and considered pursuing that professionally. Not wanting to leave high school early, I

decided against it and suddenly music really hit me as important and I started practicing hard. I

applied to the Manhattan School of Music pre-college program, graduated from high school

and immediately went to my first summer music program at Bowdoin College.

After Bowdoin, I moved to NYC and got a live-in job with an elderly lady that I cooked and

shopped for and a part-time job at the gift shop at Lincoln Center. I also studied violin privately

with Lewis Kaplan from Juilliard, whom I had studied with at Bowdoin, and practiced a lot. I

noticed that practicing violin a lot was giving me a headache and the shakes but I persevered

until I went back to Bowdoin and discovered the viola and started studying with Paul Doktor,

which being in a lower register and having the bridge further away from my ears, did not cause

me problems.

In September I had an

audition for Juilliard and was

accepted. I moved into the

Beacon Hotel near Juilliard

with a fellow student and as I

got no funds from my

parents, got a job at Macy’s

working 22.5 hours a week

(weekends and evenings) to

make ends meet. Having

hardly any money for food, I

got very skinny and sick but

then found a patron through

Juilliard, got a free place to

CAROL HABICH-TRAUT

American International Women’s Club of

Düsseldorf, Germany

From: New York, NY

Lives: Solingen, Germany

62


live in the Dakota in exchange for errands

and shopping for a Professor of Radiology

and author of textbooks. Dr. Squire was a

fabulous woman ahead of her time and I

am still grateful for her generosity. I worked

hard, got more scholarships, and graduated

with bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Summers I spent in Aspen, Los Angeles

Philharmonic Institute, Yale at Norfolk and

Tanglewood. I was invited to do a Juilliard

Chamber Orchestra tour of South America

and Juilliard Orchestra Tour of Europe.

After finishing Juilliard, I was interested in

returning to Europe, so I was invited to play

with the Heidelberger Chamber Orchestra,

a touring orchestra and so I alternated

between NYC work and HCO. While I was in

Europe, I played for any auditions that

coincided with my being there, and ended

up as assistant Principal of Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen. One year later I was Solo-

Viola of Remscheider Symphoniker, now Bergische Symphoniker.

Music is my life. I’ve been a member of different chamber music ensembles and this brings me

the most joy but I like the security of a steady paying job. I’ve decided to step down as Solo-

Viola (1st chair) to assistant solo (2nd chair). I’m still involved in playing chamber music,

sometimes do charity concerts with Robin Goldsby and have played in various constellations for

the elderly or sick. I’m always interested in new directions. I’ll try anything musically once. I still

love my job after so many years and certain pieces still make me cry or give me goosebumps

even after so many performances! I often feel healed by music, sometimes just by playing, other

times by the feedback (verbal and nonverbal) from the audience. When I listen to music, I feel

carried away to another dimension, floating in a calm but exciting paradise. In the best

performances, I get “in the flow” and am very in the moment but also hearing and aware of a

split second ahead of me to prepare to express the next moment. It is an awesome feeling and

all consuming.

63


I had several early musical

influences: the recordings of

Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Rose,

my teacher Paul Doktor,

beautiful players all. Also

Leonard Bernstein, Felix

Galamir, Juilliard and Tokyo

String Quartets, all with whom I

had the pleasure of working

with are still inspiring. Today

there are many more.

Pieces of music I recommend/

love

Brahms 4th symphony

because I played it with

Lenny Bernstein and it

was an unforgettable

experience.

Bartok Viola Concerto

because I feel very connected to it. Mozart Marriage of Figaro opera, just an amazing

piece, one beautiful melody after another and played

with awesome singers in Spoleto.

Beethoven String Quartet Opus 131, a marathon

masterpiece that I played as a member of the

Newberry String Quartet at Juilliard, such really

wonderful memories.

La Traviata because it always makes me cry.

it

GETTING TO KNOW CAROL

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. Wynton Marsalis

was in some of my classes and orchestra at

Juilliard, I think he is one of the most brilliant

people I’ve ever known but he is also a really

nice guy.

If you could meet one musician, who would it

be? J.S. Bach, play his

music with him and just

listen to him play!

The most unusual place I

have performed or

listened to music was…

Performing Carmina

Burana for the Royal

family of UAE for their 30th

anniversary in Abu Dhabi.

Performing in my

orchestra for Queen

Elizabeth and Prince Philip

and having the Queen

standing next to me to

deliver her speech!

64


Luxembourg: Bringing Joy Through Singing

I grew up in Atlanta, GA, one of 8 children, so growing up

was very interesting. It was impossible to have time to

myself, so I learned very early to be an extrovert. Going to

church was a big part of my life. It took me a while before I

started to sing, but by the age of 10, I was singing in a

young gospel choir.

After finishing high school, I took the route of most abiding

children and went to college to study computer science.

After almost two years of studying, I knew I had to follow my

heart, so I moved to New York City to study acting, singing

and dance.

After meeting my husband, he got an offer to come to Luxembourg for work. It was a very

difficult decision for me, as my career was starting to show some promise. After a lot of thought, I

followed love. However, not long after moving to Luxembourg I found the entertainment scene

and things took off from there. Becoming a mom changed my focus and passion for a while;

however, now that my children are growing up, I can start to feel the itch to try again.

I have always been a huge fan of gospel and soul singers so my first musical influences were

people like Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Oleta Adams etc. The influences haven’t

really changed over time; however, they have developed quite a bit. Over time, you learn to

find your own voice and sound but my influences are still rooted in gospel and soul.

I have learned over time that I

should trust my voice and that

it’s truly an instrument that needs

to be taken care of and tuned.

When you sing sometimes you

get this out of body experience.

You know you’re there, but you

feel like you’re floating. It’s such

a calming and warm feeling. I’m

proud of the joy that I bring to

people when I sing. When

someone tells me that they had

goosebumps after hearing me

sing, it’s an incredibly humble

feeling. In the music business

today you don’t need to be a

good or great singer; auto-tune

is a miracle worker!

ARNITA SWANSON-HALLERSTROM

American Women’s Club of Luxembourg,

Luxembourg

From: Atlanta, GA

Lives: Luxembourg

65


Pieces of music I recommend/love

Whitney Houston’s first CD.

Teddy Pendergrass’s music.

Kirk Franklin & family’s music.

Adele’s music.

Yolanda Adams’s music.

GETTING TO KNOW ARNITA

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know.

I am a Luxembourg citizen.

If you could perform with one musician, who

would it be and what music would you like to

play? I would have loved to perform with

Whitney Houston. The song that I would have

wanted to perform with her would have been

“I Have Nothing.”

The most unusual place I have performed or

listened to music was… in Dubai. They built a

stage that was in between their two towers

and it was a bit scary in the beginning, but

after a while, it was so fun.

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I would love to get better at my tennis

game and I need to stop trying to help

everyone (shhh, I do love being helpful

though).

66


Switzerland: In The Opera Chorus

ELEANOR PAUNOVIC

American Women’s Club of Zurich, Switzerland

From: Fort Covington, NY

Lives: Zurich, Switzerland

I grew up in Fort Covington, NY, which is on the

Canadian border with Quebec. Montreal was the

closest cultural center. I had a normal childhood filled

with cold-weather sports and lots of music, as my

mother taught piano. I played and sang from an early

age, realizing that I had a mature voice when I was

quite young. I had natural vibrato at around age 7. I

also played trumpet. I belonged to various all-state

choruses and bands, winning competitions and even

going on a European Tour when I was 16, playing

trumpet in the United States Collegiate Wind Band.

I went to SUNY Oswego, majoring in Voice. I explored

other types of music there, performing in musicals and

jazz groups. I then went on to the New England

Conservatory in Boston, where I received a master's degree in Voice. There I discovered my love

for early (Baroque/Renaissance) music. I lived and worked in Boston for quite a few years

afterward, honing my performance skills. I sang in the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston

Baroque, and many other groups, both in the ensembles and as soloist. I eventually made my

way to Zurich after a friend told me that there was a spot in the opera chorus. I still sing there, it is

how I make my living, and when I'm not there, I have an active and busy solo career. I recently

performed my "Best of Broadway," which is a two-woman show (my accompanist is another

American who is also a lover of musicals), and sang as soloist in Vivaldi's Gloria with a wonderful

Baroque orchestra.

My plan is to stay here in Zurich until I retire - I have two teenagers who are in the Swiss school

system. After that, when we move back to the States, I hope to get a college position and teach

voice privately.

My mom was my first, and biggest,

musical influence. Later on, my

individual voice teachers were my

mentors, and some conductors

(Christopher Hogwood comes to

mind) were influential in terms of

style. I have found that the great

conductors, directors and other

singers are all nice and helpful. The

higher up their level, the more

pleasant and helpful I find they are.

67


For me good music is good music,

regardless of the genre. When you

perform from your heart, it doesn't matter

if it's classical, musical, country or rock - as

long as it's authentic. I have learned how

to rise to any musical challenge that a

director throws my way - singing in crazy

costumes doing improbable things is part

of the job description.

Yesterday I went to see the West End

show Let it Be and I cried quite a bit

because music, when it is performed

well, is evocative and takes us

somewhere. This particular musical takes

the audience back to the 60s and 70s. For

most audience members, these years

were our formative years, and we could

laugh and cry at the various old

commercials, etc. that were projected on

the screens. But we also cried

remembering John Lennon and George

Harrison. When I listen to music, my heart

is usually deeply touched that someone

got up there in the first place (it's hard to do that!), and that someone is trying to communicate

deep emotions with the audience. When I am performing, it's sort of the opposite, but onceremoved,

as the performer needs to keep his or her "cool". As my voice teacher once said "it's

not your job to cry. It's your job to make the audience cry.”

As an expat, I have become very patriotic! So doing my solo concerts of American music is

something I enjoy doing - I raised over 2,300 CHF at the last one, which I donated to my Club/

Church charities.

Pieces of music I recommend/

love

My recommended music would

probably change daily, but today

it would be:

Mozart's C Minor Mass.

Sondheim's Company.

Eric Whitacre's “Sleep.”

Purcell's “Hear my Cry Oh

Lord.”

Cold Swindell's “Break up in

the End” - I am a huge

Country fan!

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GETTING TO KNOW ELEANOR

Tell us something interesting about yourself

that not many people know. I am an avid and

competitive bridge player, and I read the

tarot cards.

If you could perform with one musician, who

would it be and what music would you like to

play? Mozart, obviously. I would love to sing

arias from The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan

Tutti, and Idomeneo with him accompanying.

The most unusual place I have performed or

listened to music was… I guess I have

performed in only conventional concert halls,

but one of the most interesting was the Santa

Fe Opera, which is an open-air theatre in the

desert of New Mexico, and the sunset is visible

through the back of the theatre. Another

would be Theatre an der Wien, in Vienna,

where Mozart conducted.

What are some of the things you would love to

get better at and things you would like to stop

doing? I would like to get better at keeping

my house clean! I would like to stop obsessing

over my schedule.

“If you copy, it means

that you work without any

real feeling. No two

people are alike, and it’s

got to be that way with

music, or it isn’t music.”

– BILLIE HOLIDAY

69


Inspiring You

Founded in 1931, FAWCO is a global women’s NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), an

international network of independent volunteer clubs and associations comprising 62

member clubs in 31 countries worldwide, with a total membership of around 10,000. FAWCO

serves as a resource and a voice for its members; seeks to improve the lives of women and

girls worldwide, especially in the areas of human rights, health, education and the

environment; advocates for the rights of US citizens overseas; and contributes to the global

community through its Global Issues Teams and The FAWCO Foundation, which provides

development grants and education awards. Since 1997, FAWCO has held special

consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

FAWCO is an international federation of independent organizations whose mission is

• to build strong support networks for its American and international membership;

• to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide;

• to advocate for the rights of US citizens overseas; and

• to mobilize the skills of its membership in support of global initiatives for education, the

environment, health and human rights.

MAGAZINE FEEDBACK

We want this magazine to be interesting for all FAWCO members. In an

effort to provide articles of interest to all of our readers, we have created

an online feedback questionnaire. It should only take a few minutes of your

time to complete and will be a great help to us!

Please click on the link or paste it into your browser

to complete the survey.

https://s.surveyplanet.com/CEvBvdX_Ft

Thanks very much indeed!

ADVERTISING DISCLAIMER

FAWCO receives financial remuneration for page space from advertisers. Views expressed or

benefits described in any display advertisement, advertorial or in any webpage visited online

directly from these adverts, are not endorsed by FAWCO.

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More About This Issue

For more information about this magazine, please contact Inspiring Women Editor in

Chief Liz MacNiven at inspiringwomen.editor@fawco.org

For more information on how to advertise in this magazine, please contact FAWCO

Advertising and Sponsorship Manager Elsie Bose at advertising@fawco.org

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Thanks to Anita, Arnita, Beverly, Carol, Christine, Eleanor, Gwen, Katie, Kay, Krissy,

Margaret, Marianne, Mieke, Paulette, Rick, both Robins and the ladies of AWC

Gothenburg for taking the time to participate in this edition and for the use of their

photos and those of their friends and family. Thanks to Jane for her letter.

Special thanks to the proofreading team of Karen Boeker (AWC Denmark), Sallie

Chaballier (AAWE Paris), Laurie Brooks (AWC Amsterdam/AWC The Hague), Janet

Davis (AIWC Cologne), Mary Dobrian (AIWC Cologne), Cynthia Lehman (AIWC

Cologne), Carol-Lyn McKelvey (AIWC Cologne/FAUSA) Mary Stewart Burgher (AWC

Denmark) and Jenny Taylor (AIWC Cologne and Düsseldorf).

The Inspiring Women Team at the FAWCO 2018 IM in The Hague

Copyright 2018 FAWCO

Inspiring Women© Magazine is owned and published electronically by FAWCO.

All rights reserved. All bylined articles are copyright of their respective authors as indicated herein and

are reproduced with their permission. The magazine or portions of it may not be reproduced in any form,

stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means-electronic, mechanical,

photocopy or otherwise without written consent of the publisher.

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Coming Next Spring!

Women who Persist, Part 2

"There is no limit to what we, as women,

can accomplish."

– Michelle Obama

Our spring issue will present the profiles of a second set of women from our clubs who are

walking the walk. Through their insistence and their persistence, they have set out to right

a wrong, elevate justice and make the case for a better human condition. Women’s

rights, children’s rights, poverty, hunger, health or the environment - there are challenges

everywhere we look. The difference is that these women did not look away.

We already have the candidates for this issue but we do need a fabulous cover photo.

The process is simple...we need :

Cover Page Image: This is a call to all our members who persist and make a change in

this world. Perhaps you are involved in a community, at home or far away from home?

Because you are so engaged in what you are convinced to be right and important, you

must have taken pictures of the places or the people you are involved with. Please send

me any picture you think could send a strong message to your fellow FAWCO members.

Thank you!

Photos need to be sent by March 28, 2019: Please send to Marie-Bénédicte Luxem,

inspiringwomen.cover@fawco.org. They must be PORTRAIT orientation (landscape photos

cannot be accepted), digital and color, 150-300 dpi quality and 5-10 MB max. and taken

by a FAWCO member with details of where and when the photo was taken. (N.B.

Accreditation will be given for photos used but no payment is possible.)

REMEMBER ALSO: We offer great rates for FAWCO club members wishing to advertise in

the magazine. Contact Elsie Bose: advertising@fawco.org

Thanks to the Official Premier Sponsor of

Inspiring Women:

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