Laura’s parents both have performing backgrounds, so it makes sense that she took to the stage. School plays and musicals were Laura’s passion all the way through 12th grade. At the recommendation of a high school choir teacher, Laura started taking voice lessons, studying classical and musical theater repertoire. Her theater and music teachers also guided her into leadership roles, and Laura’s first professional teaching gig was as the Musical Director for a summer performing arts program at her high school. That experience was life- changing, and as a result, Laura applied to and enrolled in the Music Education program at Oberlin Conservatory. Laura completed the Double Degree program, receiving undergraduate degrees in Music Education and Theatre from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio.
Laura began teaching group singing classes at Studio East, Training for the Performing Arts in 2001, and established her private teaching studio in 2005. She became a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Puget Sound Chapter in 2009, and has attended many local and regional workshops to increase her knowledge and skills as a singing teacher. In addition to teaching music, Laura has been teaching and directing theater with young people since 2001. Play creation classes are her favorite, and she proudly directed "The Bully Plays," "Monkey Magic" and "Godspell" among other projects. Laura also performed with the children’s theater company StoryBook Theater for four seasons before joining the staff at Studio East. She completed her MA in Educational Theatre through New York University in 2010, and is a TATLab 2014 graduate. In 2015 Laura left her post as Education Director at Studio East to pursue teaching full time. In addition to teaching singers four days each week, Laura taught social skills through the arts with the Broadway Center LENS Project, summer camp with Dandylyon Drama, and a few summer literacy through drama programs with Book-It Repertory Theatre.
Laura's voice students have performed with the 5th Avenue Theatre, ACT Theatre, Village Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Book-it Repertory Theatre, SecondStory Repertory, Renton Civic Theater, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre, Kitsap Forest Theater, The Repertory Collective, Studio East, Youth Theatre Northwest, CORE Theatrics, Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts, Village Theatre's KIDSTAGE, Bellevue Youth Theatre, the Seattle Women's Chorus, Kirkland Choral Society, Seattle Symphony Chorale, Seattle Bach Choir, Sweet Adeline's choruses and quartets, and many local schools. They have placed 1st in the Puget Sound NATS Student Adjudications, 1st and 2nd at Solo & Ensemble competitions and advanced to the state contest. Others have been honored with scholarships and other recognition from Lake Washington Singers, the Pitzer/Weeks Scholarship Fund, the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, and the Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside for both Musical Theater and Classical performances. Several have gone on to study music and musical theater at the college level, and many continue to make music a priority in their lives.
laurashepherd (at) gmail (dot com)
photo by Eric Alexander
Keep your Head in the Clouds, your Feet on the Ground, and your Heart in your Music
A member of a musical family, Laura Shepherd has been singing as long as she can remember. She started singing in her school choir as soon as she learned to read, and has only spent one year since then not singing in an ensemble. She currently sings Soprano with the Seattle Symphony Chorale and is a former member of Seattle’s BlueStreet Jazz Voices and the Sweet Adelines Chorus a cappella Joy. Laura sang throughout her undergraduate career with the Oberlin College Choir and Musical Union, all through high school in various choruses, and for two years was a member of her school’s select Swing Choir. Her earliest music mentor was Paul Lindblad, with whom she sang and studied music from Kindergarten through sixth grade. Laura learned how to sing primarily with Benita Wandel, Richard Anderson, and Patricia Miller.