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Tresa Waggoner was born 33 years ago in Johnstown, Colorado, a small farming town. Her mother is a singer and instrumentalist. 'We didn't have music in school except for a choir,' Waggoner recalls. 'I played volleyball, basketball, baseball and gymnastics.' Summers, she attended music camp at Colorado State University. 'That's where I really started to find a gift and love for music,' she says. 'I started singing in church, and then my mom took me to private voice lessons. And she took me to my first opera, at Central City, and that just started it from there. Every voice teacher I had said, "Well, there's a big voice in there."'

Waggoner returned to CSU for her bachelor's degree. Upon graduation, with a degree in theatre and voice, Waggoner was selected to spend a summer studying at Austria's Salzburg Festival. From there she went on to Oklahoma City University where she earned her master's degree in basic performance.

Waggoner has performed in the United States and abroad, most recently in Carmen at Chicago's Lyric Opera. Married and pregnant at the time, she soon transferred from the fast track to the mommy track. For now, she continues to take private voice lessons while performing closer to home as a soloist in recitals and major choral works.

She also has discovered she loves teaching. 'Well, you know, I really have found my calling in teaching. When I get on stage I'm very infectious; when I'm talking about music the love of it comes out. I just haven't found the right age group, I guess,' she laughs. 'I like the public schools, but it would have to be the gifted-and-talented kids; that is the direction I want to go in. I'd like to help high school students with starting their careers: getting their resumes ready, working on performance, how to do those auditions.' Having first-hand experience in that area, she feels she has the expertise to pass it on. As for the elementary levels: 'I love the little kids, and exposing them to the music; I think it's so crucial. But I don't know; I have a gift in teaching. I just need a little more guidance to figure out where ...' Her voice trails off into laughter.

Tresa Waggoner
Tresa Waggoner

No stranger to the classroom, she spent two summers teaching at a gifted-and-talented camp in Minnesota, where she also directed Grease and sang in faculty recitals. Other positive educational experiences included a Denver-area high school where she was the assistant choral director, community colleges and vacation Bible school. 'I loved it!' she says. 'I've had some great experiences teaching, and the more I do it, the more people tell me, "Gosh, you're really good at this!" And so I can't let this one terrible experience get to me. I just can't.'

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Copyright © 16 April 2006 Madeline Jenkins Millard, Colorado USA


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