Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Memorial Day Tribute to My Teachers

Do you ever remember and give thanks to your teachers and those who helped you along the way? If you can do so with your personal phonecall or email, do it now! If the person is deceased, perhaps you can write a tribute in your blog or mention names on your website in a box. Put a framed tribute on the wall in your studio listing favorite coaches and teachers. You'll think of something. do it.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I'm giving thanks to my teachers and mentors, the people who helped me along the path to my life and my career as a singer, actor, voice over talent, audio engineer, and audio producer. I also am experienced in creating jingles and worked as a lyricist and songwriter for a time, as well as a copywriter and writer (a skill I use daily). So here goes:

Josephine Borserine, my childhood drama coach in Kansas City, MO
Stanley Deacon, my singing coach for fourteen years in Kansas City, MO and at the University of Missouri at Kansas City as an undergraduate and graduate working on my first master's degree
Dr. Leroy Pogemiller at the University of Missouri at Kansas City who taught me music sight reading, opening the door to my later career as a studio jingle singer and as a performer in musicals and cabarets. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to say "thank you" to Dr. Pogemiller in person when I presented a convocation at UMKC as a returning alumnae, honored as, "The Graduate With the Most Unusual Career." That was such a wonderful reunion with friends and family in Kansas City two years ago.
My wonderful mother, a professional pianist and composer, who started me in show business at age 4, Hazel Cline Volkart. She passed away but remains always in my heart.
Verna Brackinreed, piano teacher, who gave me my skills as a pianist. Thank you.
Dr. Leonore McCroskey, University of North Texas, who, twenty years later, refreshed my keyboard skills and taught me the fine art of the harpsichord.
Tom Merriman, founder of Dallas' TM Communiations, now deceased, my employer and mentor. I was Commercial Creative Director of TM for six years and learned my producer skills there. I also was Tom's lyricist and one of his favorite singers. Thanks Tom!
Phil Kelly, a wonderful producer, composer, and the person who gave me my start in the Dallas recording studios over thirty years ago now.
Ronnie Tutt, the person who helped me begin my career in the Dallas studios as a jingle singer. He later became Elvis Presley's drummer and you can view him in the Las Vegas videos of Elvis concerts still being played on TV. Hope you read this tribute, Ronnie.
Larry Mehoberac, who later became Elvis' pianist. Thank you for helping me begin my studio career.
Hugh Lampman, legendary voice over talent and teacher. I attended his sixteen week course when first beginning in voice overs. Later, we were business partners and taught together with workshops all over the U.S. Hugh passed away in 2002.
Dave Jackson, Jackson Artists, who booked me and my jazz group wonderfully well when I was on the road as a cabaret performer for seven years.
Don LaFontaine
. I was honored to teach on the same bill with Don more than once in LA and we miss him.
Skip Frazee, legendary audio engineer, who taught me so much as I sat beside him watching as I produced sessions over the years.
Rik Hess, voice over performer and one of my assistants, for being my friend. Rik is my former student.
There are so many others I need to thank including the people at MGM Studios in Hollywood who trained me when I was a child actor there starting at age five. Thank you all.

It feels good to say "thank you." Try it. You'll like it.

Bettye Zoller
May 2010

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