Anita first studied piano under her cousin Jo who was a concert pianist and educator. She later "graduated" to study with Jo’s teacher in New York City, Dr. Edwin Hughes, Editor-in-Chief of G. Schirmer and President of The Bohemians. Practicing the piano was time-consuming, and having perfect pitch, Anita switched to singing. She continued her studies at the Yale School of Music on a full scholarship. After graduation, Anita worked in education and then as an Oracle Database Architect and Administrator at various Fortune 500 companies. Although she didn’t have a profession in music, she never stopped singing. She was the choir director at a Russian Orthodox church for 10 years; and, on the first Sunday of each month for 19 years, she provided the music for the church services at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the only maximum-security women's prison in New York State. 

Below she shares some of her favorite memories from her time at the School of Music and how she stays involved with the Yale community. 

Why Yale? 
As a newlywed, I lived in Stamford, CT, which was an easy commute by train to New Haven. I auditioned for a prospective voice major and a piano minor. The accompanist couldn't play my vocal selection ("I Hear an Army" by Samuel Barber), which is admittedly dissonant and fast. So, I sang it a cappella. I was then asked to sight-read the piano part of a vocal work by Faure. I told the auditioners that I knew the song, but they said that was okay. I played it well and was offered a full scholarship, which I gratefully accepted.

What is your most enduring memory of your time at Yale? 
Ben DeLoache was the vocal teacher to whom I was assigned. He was eminently accomplished and larger than life and was the perfect teacher for me. He was a real character, outgoing and fun. He permitted me to take two voice lessons per week. He said he liked my enthusiasm. We were both so pleased when I finally "got it!" 

What is the biggest lesson you learned during your time at Yale and how does that shape who you are today?
I learned that I am malleable. I can learn and do a lot of different things. Also, I learned how to "sell" a song.

How did your time at Yale shape your identity?
Being at Yale gave me both confidence and a love of new types of vocal music. Diction classes ensured that my pronunciation would be sufficiently accurate that I could pass for a native in France, Italy, and Germany (which I did as we treated our son to "the grand tour" when he graduated from Choate). 

How have you stayed engaged with the Yale community since graduating?
I participate in the YaleWomen chat group that meets weekly on Wednesday nights, watch occasional Zoom presentations, and listen to almost all the free online Morse performances of music of all types.

What were your favorite spaces at Yale or in New Haven? Why?
I did not live on campus, but George & Harry's was my go-to place for lunch because it was close to the School of Music, and it was cheap. It was manned by an older gent who sometimes made snide remarks about Yale students, to which I just smiled. One day, I asked the price of the rice pudding. He said, "Two bits." I handed him a quarter and he practically fell over because I knew how much two bits was. He announced to everyone "She knows how much two bits is!" I said, "Of course. I'm a Yale student."

What aspects of Yale do you feel like you talk about most often to people who didn’t go to school here? Why?
The intimacy of the classes, the academic and personal qualities of the teachers, and the openness of the students. There were never any of the "cutthroat" shenanigans I'd heard about regarding other music schools, which shall remain nameless. 

How would you answer? Share your responses with the YAA and they might be featured in an upcoming edition of "Getting to Know You." 

And be sure to check out all the Q&As in the series by visiting our Getting to Know You page.

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