I was born in a rural area of north-west England, near Manchester. I was actually born in the geriatric wing of the local hospital, because the maternity ward was being redecorated at the time. I grew up in the same village and then eventually went to university in Cambridge. The trip from home to college each term (semester) involved a complicated journey of five trains if I wanted to go “directly,” or only three trains if I was also willing to cross London on the subway mid-way. Total distance by road? Just 162 miles.
It seemed clear from an early age that I would be some sort of scientist. I studied biochemistry first, followed by a PhD in molecular biology. Then, through a fortunate opportunity related to my husband’s job I found myself uprooted to Houston and researching medical genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. The move to Houston in 1987 was supposed to be for just two years but somehow we are still here more than 30 years later! In the meantime we have become USA citizens and produced two sons who are now adults living in other cities. At home, the human children have been replaced with one elderly dog and two rambunctious cats.
I left medical research in the 1990s to raise children and never returned. Once domestic life settled a bit, I was able to more actively follow my other passion, music. The beauty of music is that you can participate your entire life, alone or with others, without it ever being your professional career. After a lifetime of playing various instruments, I decided to give singing a go and joined Houston Show Choir in 2005. I was attracted to the fun repertoire and the challenge of singing and dancing at the same time. It didn’t take long before my analytical and organizational skills were recognized and put to work as well, and in 2010 I became their executive director.
Houston Show Choir is a community nonprofit organization with volunteer singers that rehearses in the Heights. We may not be a business in the typical sense, but networking, promotion, engagement, and relationships are just as important for the health of our organization. We have been able to learn business skills from others, generate interest in our performances and educational activities, and assist the chamber with fundraising activities. We were advised early on that we would get out of the chamber in proportion to what we were willing to put in, and we have found that to be true.
In my spare time I like to spend time in nature – favorite places are my own “native” garden, the Houston Arboretum, and the Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire – and read books in several genres. I’m also a volunteer usher at the Hobby Center (if they can ever get back to hosting live performances), which allows me to see just about every musical theater show that comes to Houston. My most recent favorite is “Come From Away” and I’m a long-time fan of “The Lion King”.