Meet Elizabeth Simon, Fall 2018 Fellow

​I was born and raised just outside of Washington, DC, first in Waldorf, MD and then in Rockville, MD. We used to spend all of our summers in Maine with my grandparents while my father had his brief summer break from being a high school band director and my mom from teaching private piano lessons. They were my most inspiring teachers and my father especially, as a musician. As a child, I did not really appreciate the impromptu “drop the needle” tests while listening to NPR but owe my love for music and performing to him. Also from both of my parents, I learned early on how important it is to share one’s prosperity, whether it be via money, strength, time, or knowledge, with those who are less fortunate in these areas. So, when we moved to India, I was eager to find someplace where I could teach that needed my skills but also wouldn’t ask me what I wanted in return. Through the Overseas Women’s Club of Bangalore, I met Shilpa Raj and learned of Shanti Bhavan. She told me about the music program there and I immediately started working to connect with the volunteer coordinators at SB. I learned about Broadway’s Babies and have now embarked upon continuing my career there.

While in India, I am also spending a great deal of time travelling and working on my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University online. A dream of mine since my undergraduate degree had been to visit Indonesia to learn a bit more about Gamelan music. So, of course this was my first trip out of bathe country upon arriving in India last year. We saw the Ramayana Ballet being performed at the Prambanam Temple and I was even able to visit a Wayang Kulit school where they teach children the art of the shadow puppet theatre, which includes crafting the highly intricate puppets, singing and playing Gamelan.

What most excites me about working at Shanti Bhavan is the opportunity to work with a young adult choir. I was a vocal major for my bachelors degree in Choral and General Music Education at The University of North Carolina Greensboro. I have been working with smaller children for the bulk of my teaching career but have sorely missed choral music and conducting. The children here are so driven and talented that I know they will be able to rise to the challenge of singing in harmony.

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