Tech Conductor Is No Stranger to Grammys

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A few Sundays ago, you may have snuggled up on your sofa and watched the Grammy Awards to see if your favorite artists would win. But not if you were Laura Inman — she was actually there. “It is an unbelievable experience, being surrounded by some of your favorite artists in the world. A huge bonus is getting dressed up and walking the red carpet before the ceremony,” said Inman, an assistant professor and assistant director of choirs, who just attended her third Grammy Awards ceremony. “It’s surreal to look up and see icons such as Sting and B.B. King standing within arms length.”For years, Inman has sung with professional choirs, including the Phoenix Chorale, where she has been a part of multiple recordings that have been nominated for and have won Grammys.Most recently, the group won for “Spotless Rose,” which took home the award for Best Small Ensemble Performance in 2008.This year’s invitation came about after Inman participated in a recording by the Kansas City Chorale, “Life and Breath,” which was nominated for and won Grammys in the Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Choral Performance categories. (Although Inman isn’t a member of the chorale, the conductor, Charles Bruffy, is also the conductor of the Phoenix Chorale. He invited Inman and three other Phoenix singers to join the recording.)“Unfortunately, every member of the group doesn’t get to take home a gold trophy, but it really doesn’t matter. Just being there is surreal, and sharing it with some of your best friends is priceless,” she said. “We all look forward to the after-party at the Staples Center. The party spans several ballrooms, with each featuring different live music, and is fully catered. It’s the kind of night you never forget.”Recently, The Whistle had an opportunity to learn more about Inman and her time at Georgia Tech.Did you always know you wanted to be a conductor?           Not a conductor, but I was always interested in music. As a child, I was very artistic. I took dance lessons, painted, and played the piano and the clarinet in band. Monday night girls’ chorus rehearsals were my favorite part of the week. When I walked into the School of Music at the University of Louisville for the first time as an undergrad, I knew that music was going to be a part of my life forever. My love for conducting was inspired by one of my college professors who encouraged me to continue on after earning my bachelor’s. I went on to Arizona State University (ASU) and pursued both a master’s and doctorate in conducting.How did you arrive at Tech?       After I earned my degrees from ASU, I spent five years working with students at a charter school in Arizona and continued singing in the Phoenix Chorale. But a year ago, I decided to use my training and seek a university position, which had been a goal of mine. I liked that the music program at Tech wasn’t traditional — kind of like me. I accepted the position because I felt like I’d be able to grow here, and I have.Describe an average day in your job.     I work with both the GT Chorale and the Women’s Chorus, so that is where the majority of my time goes. I also teach voice lessons to some of our music minors, and I’m designing a course that will eventually be required for music technology majors. Since I also have an active singing career, I have to find time to learn the songs — many of which are in various foreign languages — for my own upcoming performances.  What are a few misconceptions people might have about your job? Some people might think that we just play music all of the time, when in reality, I still have to meet all of the requirements that any other tenure-track professor does. Also, I’ve learned that you don’t have to have a degree in music to be a beautiful singer. I’m forever impressed by how talented some of my students are here at Tech, given that they don’t always have much musical experience.Where is your favorite place to have lunch? Zaya in the Student Center Food Court, and I always order the shawarma, which is a kind of wrap filled with chicken.If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?  My father. He passed away a few years ago, and I’d love to be able to have a conversation with him again.Tell us something unique about yourself.   I have always loved Irish dance, so I recently began Irish dance lessons. It’s much harder than I expected!



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 02/19/2013
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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