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Alumna Rachel Fry ’05: More than a Musician

February 15, 2016

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Vocal Performance Major
Private Voice Teacher, New York City
LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts

Rachel Fry’s first love is music. As a private voice teacher at New York City’s LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, Fry ’05 shares her passion for music with students every day. The school—which specializes in teaching visual arts and performing arts—was the inspiration for the 1980 movie “Fame.” The film was later made into a television series and a Broadway show.

Fry holds a Master of Music from the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) and has performed the roles of Mrs. Grose in Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” and the mezzo in Argento’s “Postcard from Morocco.” While at CCPA, she understudied “Sleep (The Fairy Queen)” and “Lisetta (Il Mondo della Luna)” with the Chicago Opera Theater. Before moving to New York, Fry was a longtime member of VOX 3 Collective—a Chicago-based group of vocalists who perform a unique mix of opera, art song, and cabaret.

Her time as a professional musician and her time as a TLU student have both influenced her as an educator. She credits the personal attention she received from Professors Doug Boyer, Shaaron Conoly, and Eric Daub and describes her TLU experience as “small enough that I felt individually encouraged yet large enough that I felt the desire to be competitive with my peers.” Years later, she still feels the support and encouragement and remains in contact with Boyer and Conoly.

The personal connections and friendships she developed within the music department also stand out to her. “The TLU choirs have always been a showcase of the university and have attracted many people from different studies, cultures, and backgrounds,” Fry said. “One of my dearest friends in New York, James Lee, was part of both the TLU Choir and Kantorei Choir with me, and we resumed our friendship with little time lost, many years after college.”

Beyond the faculty support she received and friendships she built, Fry credits TLU’s rigorous curriculum for her success and often advises her students to seek out liberal arts universities to make them better performers.

“I believe the best artists are those who have access to widespread emotions and life experiences rather than those who merely draw from their own personal lives,” Fry said. “At TLU, I took a class in film noir. I studied the Bible as literature. I studied world religions. I engaged in relationships that pushed my spiritual and theological boundaries. I sought classes and people who broke my worldview and then helped me piece it back together in a clearer and revolutionary way. I would not be the compassionate, loving, open mentor I am today without the guidance from my undergraduate studies. One of the best ways TLU prepared me for a professional life in music was by encouraging me to be more than a musician.”

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