Hear Diana Sing

 

Albuquerque Journal article about Diana. . .

 

 


Vocal Coach Diana Segara Pursued Her Dream of Becoming a Singer, Then a Teacher
By Eric Billingsley
Journal Staff Writer

    When Diana Segara was 7 years old, she had a life-defining moment. At a friend's birthday party, the birthday girl sat down at the piano, broke out in song and all the other children sang along.
    The spontaneous power of that moment sparked a desire in Segara to sing, perform and pursue other forms of artistic expression.
    "I felt like, 'Wow, this (is) it,' '' says Segara. "I think it was the performing, moving people and making them laugh or cry."
    Segara, now 60, is a certified singing and drama teacher who works out of her Northeast Albuquerque home. Any given week she works with upward of 90 students, ranging from those learning to sing for the first time to seasoned performers looking to hone their vocal abilities.
    Kelly Kuchar, whose daughter, Jenna, 14, began taking vocal lessons from Segara when she was 11 years old, says Segara is more than a teacher.
    "Diana is one of Jenna's most significant adults in her life," says Kuchar. "Diana sees the best in people. She's totally a mentor as a singing instructor, and she's a friend."

A difficult path

    Pursuing her desire to perform, and eventually instruct, hasn't always been easy for Segara. As a child, she didn't have access to formal instruction but benefited from the influence of her mother, a semi-professional singer. Later, she contended with her own insecurities about being able to teach.
    But, she says, the experiences helped her develop a simple philosophy.
    "Everyone deserves to sing if they really want to," she says. "You need people along the way to believe in you and make you feel special in whatever it is you're doing."
    Born in New York City, Segara, the older of two siblings, was raised in Queens and Manhattan. She says the Catholic grammar school she attended provided little access to extracurricular activities in the performing arts. And her family didn't have the money for private lessons.
    "The interest was there, but the only way I was exposed to music was through my mother, who loved opera, and by listening to the radio," she says.
    Segara's first opportunity to perform came in high school. Despite the school being "fairly rough" and having a poor music department, she says, it had a great drama program. That fueled her interest in performance, she says, but it didn't give her much of an outlet for music.
    She went on to obtain a bachelor's degree in speech education and drama (1969) and then a master's degree in communication theory and media (1972) from Queens College City University of New York. During college she also began singing professionally with acoustic, folk and rock bands, even though she had no formal vocal training.
    "That was it for me; I absolutely loved it and wanted to do it all of the time," says Segara.

Key influences

    Her role models are Barbra Streisand, for belting— being able to hold notes forever; Maria Callas, for expression; Liza Minnelli and her mother, Judy Garland, for their heart and soul; Kathleen Battle, for vocal quality; Peggy Lee, for her phrasing; and Ella Fitzgerald, for her scat technique and straightforward singing.
    Segara's mother, a single parent, was another key influence.
    "My mother was really happy when she was singing, and on some level I keyed into that and wanted that happiness for myself," says Segara, adding she found out later in life that her grandmother was also a singer.
    In 1976 she moved to Boston and began a seven-year stint taking private vocal instruction at the New England Conservatory, considered one of the oldest independent music conservatories in the U.S. During that time she worked as a counselor and college instructor, singing professionally on the side. She often performed with her husband, Daniel Mahony, whom she met in 1981 and married in 1982.

The teaching bug

    In 1986, she obtained certification from the National Association of Teachers of Singing to instruct. She says Mahony was a major source of motivation behind her decision to become a vocal instructor.
    "I always wanted to become a singing teacher but never thought it was possible," says Segara. "I think the important thing for me is that I was true to myself even though it took me longer to get my credentials."
    The couple ran the Ipswich Voice Studio in Ipswich, Mass., from 1983 to 1993. Then they moved to Tralee, Ireland, where Segara worked as a college instructor and opened her current business, The Singing Centre. Mahony worked as a musician and teacher of developmental psychology.
    While living in Tralee, she performed and began composing music. To date, she has produced three CDs and four volumes titled "Songs for Poems of the Spirit."
    The couple moved to Albuquerque and opened their business in 2004. She says they chose New Mexico because they were tired of the weather in Ireland, looking for a sunny and peaceful place to live, and real estate prices were good at the time.
    Segara and Mahony run The Singing Centre together. Their business has two studios, a digital recording system, a performance space, digital voice analysis capabilities and access to Internet music downloads. They recently launched Internet-based lessons that are done via Webcam.
    Segara is a coloratura soprano— a high-pitched, fast-singing soprano. She sings solo in Handel's "Messiah" with the East Mountain Community Chorus, with the choral ensemble of Opera Southwest, and produces and performs in the metro area.

Blossoming talent

    Kelly Kuchar says her daughter has blossomed since starting vocal instruction with Segara.
    She takes private instruction, performs with other students at The Singing Centre, recently took an acting workshop from Segara in which all of the kids wrote and performed their own play, and has cut her own CD.
    "Every time (Jenna) would go to class she would say to me 'Thank you so much,' '' says Kuchar.
    Bekka Goldberger, 16, couldn't agree more. She began taking vocal lessons in June 2006. Even though she had prior singing experience, she says Segara has been instrumental in teaching her technique.
    "Over the past year and a half my voice has really grown and gotten better," says Goldberger. For instance, Segara instructs her to never sing the same lyrics the same way twice. Goldberger adds that she is also considering becoming a vocal instructor one day.
    Segara says everybody can learn how to sing.
    "With my background in counseling, singing and acting, between the three, there's no way someone is going to get out of here without expressing themselves," she says.

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Click Images to Hear Diana Sing

Diana Segara is a New York City composer and singer. Her CDs include Song Affirmations ; The Gift of Song ; and Songs for Poems of the Spirit, Volumes I - IV, in which she sets to song the works of American, Irish, and Russian poets Emily Dickinson, Yeats, Joyce, Kennelly, Akhmatova, and many other great poets. Performances of her compositions have been well received at the James Joyce Centre and Irish Writers' Centre, Dublin, Kerry Intl. Summer School, Listowel Writers Week, Intl. Women's Day, and Kerry's Samhlaiocht Chiarrai. Her Ireland performances at Kerry Intl. Summer School were dubbed "...compelling" by In Dublin magazine. Her song "In the Glen" was a winner in the Sean McCarthy Ballad Contest, Finuge, Ireland; and she was twice selected for the Composers' Platform, Samhlaiocht Chiarrai. At the same time, performances in America were in New York City for the Hunger Project and in Amherst Mass. near the Emily Dickinson Homestead. Press attention includes a feature article in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine.

 

 

 

Curriculum Vitae

Diana Segara, M. A.

diana at dianasegara dot com

 

Teaching Experience

2004 – Present     Founder/Director, The Singing Center, Albuquerque, N.M. Instruction and coaching in singing, performance, and recording technique, all styles; concert productions in studio performance space and other venues in Albuquerque   

1994 – 2004     Founder/Director, The Singing Center, Ireland. Instruction in singing and speaking technique, performance/presentation; conducted choir; produced dozens of public concerts

1994 – 2004     Instructor, Community College VEC, Tralee, Ireland. Taught courses in self-development including assertiveness training, self-esteem for women, stress management, and singing

1986 - Certified by National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)

1983 – 1993      Founder/Director, The Ipswich Voice Studio, Ipswich, Mass.

1980 – 1983      Counselor/Instructor, North Shore  Community College, Beverly, MA, USA. Managed Counseling Centre, Downtown Campus; taught courses in communication, career development, separation and divorce, psychodrama; provided private counseling to students and adults in the community

1976 – 1979      Psychotherapist/Instructor, Emerson College, Boston, MA provided private counseling; taught courses in assertiveness, study skills, acting

1974 –1976      Counselor/Instructor, Coordinator of Tutoring Program, State University of New York at Delhi. Provided individual counseling; taught courses in value clarification, career development; produced video, Teaching Techniques for Tutors

1969 – 1974      Adjunct Lecturer, Queens College, Flushing, New York. Taught courses in communication theory

Performance Experience

2005 – Present     Soprano; solo performances with East Mountain Community Chorus, Handel’s Messiah; ensemble performances with Opera Southwest, La Boheme, Tosca; Albuquerque Festival Singers, Faure’s Requiem, Carnegie Hall

2008 - Present      Soprano, member New Mexico Symphonic Chorus. Regularly at Pope Joy. NMSC performed with Philadelphia Symphony at Vail, CO.

2005 – Present    Vocalist; jazz and misc. styles; venues in Albuquerque include Hispanic Cultural Center; Las Colinas, La Vida Llena, and Café Miche; yearly solo benefit concerts for Roadrunner Foodbank and Micro-lending Club of New Mexico, Diana, founder/coordinator

1993 – 2004      Singer/Composer; produced three CDs and four volumes of Songs for Poems of the Spirit performed at The James Joyce Centre, The Irish Writers’ Centre, Listowel Writers’ Week, Kerry Int’l Summer School of Living Irish Authors, and others

1984 – Present      Soprano; solo recitals, weddings, choirs and ensembles

1984 – Present      Lead vocalist in several jazz bands

 

Education

1972    Master of Arts in Communication Theory and Media, Queens College, City University of New York

1969    Bachelor of Arts in Speech Education, Queens College, City University of New York

1976 – 1993    Private vocal training with Jo Estill (Estill Institute); Virginia Bowles, Bernard Barbeau, Todd Gordon, New England Conservatory; Robert Stoloff, Berklee College of Music

1982    Psychodrama at the Moreno Institute, Beacon, New York

 

Grants/ Press Attention/ Awards

1995, 1996   Samhlaiocht Chiarrai Composers’ Platform

1994    Sean McCarthy Ballad Contest

1986    Sunday Boston Globe Magazine, feature article

1984, 1985    Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant for Music video, Agawam, an original song viewed in 60 towns in Mass. See on YouTube.

 


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