Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!
I am a classically-trained opera singer, but I love singing all types of music: musical theater, pop, folk, ABBA… everything! I am a cradle Catholic, but God ignited a new zeal in my heart a few years ago, and I have loved discovering my faith more and more since then. Along with music, I love poetry, literature, and mythology and am always trying to incorporate these passions into the musical programs I create. When I’m not working, I can usually be found at the kickboxing gym or at a coffee shop with a book and an americano.
Describe your professional work. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?
As a professional singer, I work at a few churches in Orange County, and am hired by various opera companies in Orange County and Los Angeles as a freelance artist. I have been studying singing since I was nine years old, and have received my bachelors and masters degrees in Vocal Performance. As an undergraduate, I discovered that I also loved teaching singing and have slowly grown my own voice studio over the years, working with children and adults of all ages.
“I felt God calling me to use my gifts in a more non-traditional manner, igniting a desire to use music to help those in need in my community and to draw others to Him through beauty.”
Having pursued a traditional opera career before, during, and after grad school, I felt God calling me to use my gifts in a more non-traditional manner, igniting a desire to use music to help those in need in my community and to draw others to Him through beauty. This has led me to form The Sparrow Initiative – a performance group that uses the arts to raise awareness for the needs of the community, while producing thought-provoking recitals that engage the audience and uplift our culture through beauty.
What are the personal strengths that you’ve been given and how do you utilize them?
Some of my personal strengths are my ability to empathize and put myself in the shoes of another person; to see things from different perspectives and think outside the box; and to organize ideas into themes and narratives with an instinct for artistic direction and storytelling. These gifts have always helped me as a performer to explore a character I was portraying and instinctively know how that character would react on stage. They’ve also helped me as a teacher to think of new ways to explain a concept or idea if a student was having difficulty understanding it. Through the Sparrow Initiative, however, I have more fully developed and realized these gifts in creating musical programs that can draw an audience into our narrative by using impactful and relatable themes.
“Some of my personal strengths are my ability to empathize and put myself in the shoes of another person; to see things from different perspectives and think outside the box; and to organize ideas into themes and narratives with an instinct for artistic direction and storytelling.”
What women inspire you, and why?
Dorothy Day has been a real inspiration to me. Her determination to assist those in need has helped me follow through in trying to help others through the gifts and means that I have. I am also inspired by how, after her conversion, she recognized the importance of keeping God and the Eucharist at the center of her life. No matter how busy or distracting living in the world could be, she knew she must leave time to visit Christ in the Eucharist.
What is the best advice/encouragement you’ve received about vocational discernment?
The best advice I have ever received about vocational discernment actually came from the GIVEN Forum. It seemed like the Holy Spirit used every conversation I had with different colleagues, mentors, and religious sisters to get this point across to me! The insight was to not hold on too tightly to my own plan and my own need to control and navigate what I saw as my vocation, but to give the Holy Spirit freedom and space to maneuver and guide my work, and if plans changed, it was okay. I went into GIVEN with one very specific plan of action, and left with a much broader idea – less certainty, but more peace.
“I went into GIVEN with one very specific plan of action, and left with a much broader idea – less certainty, but more peace.”
Prayer is essential for everyone, but especially for women who are active in the life and mission of the Church. Do you have any favorite devotions or prayers?
I have grown to cherish my time with Our Lord in adoration at least once a week. I have especially realized how important it is to not fill up my holy hour with reading or a set of specific prayers, but to just sit with a journal and let my worries and hopes and preoccupations unravel before Him, and wait in silence to see where He wants to lead my thoughts and prayers. It can be so surprising!
What were your key takeaways from the GIVEN Forum?
The concepts of vocation and discernment have always been such an enigma to me. My experience at GIVEN completely changed my understanding of vocation. Through both the witness of the women speakers and my own personal conversations, I came to realize that vocation is not so much what you do, but who you are.
“Through both the witness of the women speakers and my own personal conversations, I came to realize that vocation is not so much what you do, but who you are.”
Also, there are so many levels of vocation: there’s the big vocation as Christians to serve those around us; there’s the vocation we have as women to nurture and mother the souls God gives us in the present moment; and there’s the vocation to cultivate and use well whatever particular gifts He has given us as individuals. This new understanding was groundbreaking for me, and has brought me so much more peace and patience.
What was your GIVEN action plan? Describe its mission, audience, and impact.
My Action Plan was for a new organization that would bring music to the community through both performance and education. This has become The Sparrow Initiative. The short term goal is to create musical programs that serve two purposes: first, to lead hearts to God through the beauty of music, second, to raise money for various causes. For recitals and concerts, we would focus on subject matter that draws attention to a need in the world, such as human trafficking, and, using the beauty of the music, inspire the audience to help. In the long term, I would also like to commission new works from composers based on stories of the Bible, such as Ruth and Job.
“My Action Plan was for a new organization that would bring music to the community through both performance and education. This has become The Sparrow Initiative.”
Once The Sparrow Initiative is more established, I hope to get started on the education branch. I want to bring live music to those in the community who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to experience it. I would like to take an educational show to places like Juvenile Hall, women’s shelters, and orphanages, as well as offer music classes for them.