An Illustrious Road to Lawrenceville
Clark Music Center would not be the same without Laura Heimes, Lawrenceville’s Interim Director of Choral Activities.
Clark Music Center would not be the same without Laura Heimes, Lawrenceville’s Interim Director of Choral Activities. Now in her fifth year at Lawrenceville, Heimes conducts The Lawrentians and The Lawrenceville Singers and serves as a private voice instructor, all while simultaneously managing professional performances outside of Lawrenceville. During her free time, Heimes loves to spend time with her family and bake.
While it is difficult to imagine, Heimes surprisingly never intended to pursue music professionally. As a child, Heimes sang regularly but never thought singing could be a viable career option. She took after her older brother in playing the trumpet for many years and was also in choir. However, she considered herself an athlete foremost and was a competitive gymnast for a long time. Only after a severe car accident in her freshman year of high school caused her to have physical limitations did she decide to audition for the musical. Though she intended to major in English while in college, she completely changed her major after auditioning for the choir and singing for the head of the vocal department. It was after this experience that Heimes decided to earn her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance and Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting under the guidance of her mentor, Robert Isgro.
In graduate school, she fell in love with composers after taking one of her friend’s classes in Baroque Performance Practice, where she ultimately auditioned for an upcoming national tour in a professional ensemble. Performing for the first time in Seattle, Heimes has stayed with the group for the past 20 years. While it certainly took a long time to figure out exactly what she wanted to do, Heimes decided to follow her passion for music.
Some of her most memorable experiences include performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City and singing for Stephen Sondheim. She performed Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” with the Philadelphia Orchestra and rehearsed with Sondheim in preparation for the concert. Heimes also performed George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” with the Pittsburgh Symphony—an experience she will never forget. In addition to performing professionally, Heimes also gives private lessons to students at Lawrenceville, which sometimes requires her to drive through the night or take a red-eye flight from her outside performances to return to campus in time. She regularly comes to school two to three times every day. Regardless of her hectic schedule, she appreciates her time at Lawrenceville and the people whom she has opportunities to work with every day. “I have loved it at Lawrenceville since day one and really look forward to every choir rehearsal and lesson with my students,” Heimes said. “My colleagues in the [Performing Arts] Department are terrific and Clark is a great place to be. The building is always full of energy!”
Throughout her musical career, she has been assisted by teachers and colleagues, and she hopes that she can provide the same mentorship and guidance she has received to other aspiring musicians, a lesson that is instrumental to how she teaches now. “Yes, it’s a juggling act to manage my career, teaching, and my family, but it has been worth every sacrifice. And in the process, I am hopeful that I will be able to share my excitement with all the singers that I am fortunate enough to work with and help them to always find joy in their music making,” Heimes said.