About the artist(s)
Lisa is a board-certified music therapist and licensed mental health counselor based in Westchester, and currently serves as Director of Family Education and Engagement at a synagogue in White Plains, New York. Most recently, Lisa taught at Gann Academy, where she served as Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Lisa has performed in various settings, most frequently in the genre of Klezmer music. She has performed as a vocalist with the Klezmer Conservatory Band and other Boston-based ensembles and has written, composed, and arranged pieces for a cappella and choral groups in the Northeast.
Here are highlights from Lisa’s conversation with The Enormity of Now.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a musician, an educator, and an educational leader. It feels a little weird saying all of those things, but I’ll own them. I grew up in Albany, New York, and am a Jewish, white, American, heterosexual, cisgender female.
I first came to Boston for undergraduate studies. I studied Childhood Development and Comparative Religion, Then a Masters in Contemporary Improvisation in Singing Performance. In doing that, I realised that strictly doing performance wasn’t for me, and I really wanted to put my music background to use, so I did an additional Masters in Expressive Therapies and Mental Health Counselling with a focus on music therapy.
During my first Masters, I took a semester off. Whilst home, I taught kids at the synagogue, where I especially connected with the children with special needs. I realised there was a connection. It was the integration of two things that were really important to me, something potentially unique I could contribute to this profession.
How has the journey of your art/career engaged your voice – personally, artistically, politically?
I work as the Chair of the Visual and Arts department for a high school outside of Boston, Massachusetts.* I also teach Music and Vocal Arts. Quite literally I’m using my voice to teach other students voice.
Before I became an administrator, I was performing a bit. So I’m still holding onto that piece of who I am. I’m involved in thinking about education a little bit differently, bringing my life experience to the classroom and to my students. It’s my responsibility not just to teach them music but help them grow into conscientious, kind human beings. It’s a way to use my voice. I’m really big on transparency and communication. I feel they’re the foundation of all healthy relationships. I find myself often speaking up in my small communities, when I see things happening that are at odds with the community’s and my own values. For better or worse, that’s a reputation that I’ve garnered. Someone who’s willing to speak truth to power. I guess I call things out when I see them.
*Original interview was conducted in May of 2021; Lisa currently serves as Director of Family Education and Engagement at a synagogue in White Plains, NY.
What is the voice that you found while finding your voice?
I’m still finding my voice and I hope I’m always developing my voice. My voice is often insecure. My voice feels the most authentic when I’m connecting emotionally to what I’m singing – I’m baring a small part of my soul.
Lisa is a board-certified music therapist and licensed mental health counselor based in Westchester, NY. She currently serves as the Director of Family Education and Engagement at Bet Am Shalom, a Reconstructionist synagogue in White Plains. Before her recent relocation to New York, Lisa lived in Boston, Massachusetts for over 20 years where she pursued academic degrees in Child Development and Comparative Religion (B.A. at Tufts University), Contemporary Improvisation (M.M. at New England Conservatory), and Expressive Therapies and Mental Health Counseling (M.A. at Lesley University). Most recently, Lisa taught at Gann Academy, a pluralistic Jewish high school outside Boston, where she served as music faculty, vocal ensembles director, and Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department.
Lisa has performed in various settings, most frequently in the genre of Klezmer music. She has performed as a vocalist with the Klezmer Conservatory Band and other Boston-based ensembles and has written, composed, and arranged pieces for a cappella and choral groups in the Northeast. Throughout high school, college, and graduate school, Lisa studied classical and non-classical vocal technique and feels most at home and connected when performing R&B, soul, and jazz standards. She has shared her love of voice, performance, and music theory to private students over the past two decades and loves working one-on-one with students of all ages. One of Lisa’s peak stage experiences remains her high school senior recital, in which she shared the stage with her forever friend, Brian Lobel. She is honored and humbled to be taking part in this project and hopes that stepping outside of her comfort zone to perform in this forum will inspire students of voice to do the same.