Patti Graetz began piano lessons at eight years old and was singing
and accompanying herself at the keyboard by the time she was ten.
She had a rigorous music education that included weekly music theory
and ear-training classes in addition to private instruction at the
Her passion, though, was singing. At four, she saw Julie Andrews in
the film version of "The Sound of Music". That was a defining moment
for her life. From that moment on her dream was to perform. She
made her public "debut" when she was five years old, singing "White
Christmas" at her school Christmas program.
Mrs Graetz joined choir in junior high and her love of choral music and
choral singing began - especially "a cappella" choral music. She was
the choir accompanist (when needed) as well as a choir member, but
her dream of pursuing a solo singing career persisted.
She also joined the band and played flute for twelve years. With the
popularity of folk music in the 70's, she taught herself to play guitar
when she was twelve.
The most significant influence on her life was her high school choir
director, Coloma Lafferty. The Memorial High School Chorale was well
known for their excellence in a cappella singing. Coloma Lafferty
trained under Paul J Christiansen and brought the extraordinary skills
of creating perfect blend and intonation to her choirs combined with
challenging repertoire. Rehearsals were intense, disciplined and fun!
Mrs Graetz was a member of the Texas All-State Choir for three years
and worked with great choral conductors from around the US - Weston
Noble, Donald Neuen and Douglas McKewen. She attended summer
choral school with Paul J Christiansen after her sophomore year of
high school and decided to attend Concordia College in Moorhead,
Minnesota and sing in the Concordia Choir under his direction.
Private voice study began when she was 14. Although she loved
musical theater, she soon realized that her voice was not right for that
style of singing, but she discovered opera when Texas Opera Theater
performed the Marriage of Figaro at her high school. It was then that
Mrs Graetz knew that the classical style of singing was where she
She fulfilled part of her dream by attending Concordia College where
she was a soloist with the Concordia Choir. Her first opera
performance was excerpts from La Boheme and Cavalleria Rusticana.
After attending Concordia College as a Bachelor of Music major in
Vocal Performance she moved back to Houston.
She sang with Houston Grand Opera for three seasons and performed
in twenty-one operas during that time. This was the real training
ground. She studied voice with Elena Nikolaidi and Joseph Frank,
received musical coaching from Conolley Ballard, Craig Bohmler, John
DeMain, Richard Bado and Ward Holmquist. She honed her language
skills, studied acting with Chris Wilson and watched and learned as
she sang alongside great singers including Joan Sutherland, Mirella
Freni, Eva Marton, Erie Mills, Placido Domingo, Nicolai Ghiarov and
Mrs Graetz attended the Musicians Club of America summer program
and, once again, received tremendous training from Metropolitan
Opera staff members Joan Dorneman, Nico Castel, Janet Bookspan
and others. She attended master classes with Eleanor Steber and was
directed by Mignon Dunn.
A year later she moved to New York City to continue her studies. Her
time there was cut short by receiving a touring contract with Texas
Opera Theater. She found herself back in Houston for the rehearsal
period. It was then that she found Lois Alba whom she has now
studied with for 18 years. Ms Alba's expertise in the Italian school of bel
canto is a legacy she has passed on to many students and teachers.
Not enough can be said about Lois Alba's teaching. Her incredible
knowledge of the voice, her acute ear, her extensive knowledge of the
repertoire, her passion for singing and for helping others to sing to the
best of his or her potential, her own career experience and the training
she received from great singers such as Rosa Ponselle, Lotte Lehman
and Elena Nikolaidi, and her innate ability to communicate all this to
her students make her a treasure to the world of singing.
For twelve years Mrs Graetz was a member of two Arizona-based
professional performing ensembles: OPERA-tunity and The Royal
Renaissance Singers. These ensembles gave more than 100
performances to audiences of all ages each year!
Every rehearsal, lesson, coaching and performance is a learning
experience. From singing in choir as a child to performing the title role
in Tosca, Mrs Graetz has had a wide variety of experiences that give
her great versatility and has helped her to become a dynamic
performer passionate to share her gift.