Voice teacher Katie Tupper and student Gwen Howard make good music together

by Linda Hubbard on January 8, 2016

This is a tale of teacher and student who share a passion for music.

Menlo Park resident Katie Tupper is the teacher. She’s been giving voice lessons since she moved here eight years ago. But her musical interest dates back to her childhood and includes winning solo voice competitions as a teen.

A lyric soprano, Katie favors classical arts songs like German Lieder and French Melodie. “There are also American art songs from composers Gladys Rich, Samuel Barber and Aaron Copeland,” she explains.

She performs rarely these days, juggling family responsibilities with teaching. That makes watching the development of her student, Gwen Howard, who started voice lessons at age nine, all the more sweet.

A senior now who plans to pursue music in college, Gwen is a member of Cantabile Youth Singers. In various iterations, the singers, ages 4­-18, perform seasonal concerts, participate in music festivals, and tour abroad. They are also frequent guests with symphony, opera and ballet companies and have performed a stand-alone concert at Carnegie Hall.

“As much as I enjoy singing, what I really love is song writing,” Gwen says. “That will be my focus at college, composing and conducting.”

Gwen says her musical taste is eclectic, ranging from Bon Iver to Ben Howard to Fink, along with more pop-oriented singers like Alicia Keyes and Mariah Carey.

What neither Katie nor Gwen likes to think about is next Fall, when teacher and student will no longer spend time together. “It will certainly be a void,” says Katie, “as Gwen’s whole family has been such a part of my life since I moved to Menlo.”

Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2015


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