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With lots of love and support from my husband Bill, my children Connor and Devin, my mother and father-in-law Joyce and Don, and of course my mom Ellen (who is my biggest fan), I am living my dream come true! It’s so exciting to create and perform my own original music for children and other teachers. I live in Batavia, IL and run my own preschool center in Sugar Grove, IL called Brightest Stars Preschool. brightest-stars.com

For as long as I can remember, I have been singing and now fill my preschool classes with music every day. Music and teaching have always been my passion and “combining the two are the best feeling in the world.” When I learned to play the guitar, I found a new love of music and then realized that I had my own melodies.

“Come and Swim With Me” was the first song I wrote and within a 6 week period of song writing, I had 75 songs to use in my classroom. With so many songs flowing, I challenged myself to use my own songs for an entire school year. Mission was accomplished with songs to use for 50 different themes.

This CD is a dream come true for me! I knew that once the children in my classes started requesting my songs that I really needed to make a professional recording of some of my favorites. I met up with Patrick Dugan from Musical Expressions in Naperville who is a professional musician and he became my one man band. Patrick did all the music tracks and recording along with the mixing of all my songs. He made sure each song had its own special sound. Once I contacted Patrick, it took a year to get all the recording, mixing, and mastering done on the CD. We are starting to record the second CD now.

Each song has special meaning to me, but "Come and Swim With Me" is my favorite since it was my first song. Another song that stands out is called "Sammy the Zebra". My son Devin, who was 9 at the time, asked if he could help me write a song. His idea was about a zebra named Sammy who is sad. Wondering how to fit a sad song into my mix, I asked Devin why the zebra was sad and he said that Sammy loses his stripes every time it rains and since Sammy lives in the rainforest, he was sad a lot. Well, who knew that "Sammy the Zebra" would be many, many children's favorite song?

When I am singing with groups of children, I make the songs as interactional as I can. It’s fine to have concert style songs, but little ones really want to get into the songs and be a part of them. "Sammy the Zebra" gives the kids a chance to take stripes away from the zebra that is attached to a magnetic board and "Little Bird" allows the children to become a bird hatching then flying around to find food to eat. "Four Frogs on a Log" has the children being frogs looking for bugs, "Come and Swim With Me" has children swimming around the room to meet little fish's family and they also can become astronauts interacting with aliens in "Zip Zip Zoom". I love seeing the learning within each child through music!

For children's songs, my biggest influence has been Laurie Berkner, Raffi, and Mr. Rogers, but I use all kinds of music to shape my songs. I let the words and melodies come to me. Nothing can be contrived or it just doesn't work. When I find myself working too hard at it, I set the song aside and work on something else. That's how "Snicky Snack", "Cowboy Song" and "Tropical Island" happened for CD number two.

This has been so much fun for me to hear what other people have said about my CD. I love hearing what are the favorites whether it’s "Chocolate Chip Cookies", "Come and Swim With Me", "Any Other Cat Like That", or "Mommy I Want Salami". But one of the biggest compliments came from a guy in his 20s who said he loved that my songs were so "adult friendly". Another friend said she has "I Like Me" set on her phone alarm clock and she wakes up every day with me singing to her.

I have a great support system that allows me to keep doing what I love, teaching and singing! My husband Bill has believed in me from the beginning of wanting to grow a preschool center and a music venture. He is always there to help when I need my sound system set up for singing events or for taking the kids to their activities when I have a show. And of course, I would have never had my love of music without the influence of my number one fan, my mom!! Thanks mom!!


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