CAROL VEACH, FRONT DESK | ST. JOHNS WOMEN’S CHOIR, VOCAL WORKSHOP

Q: What brought you to music?
A: Being born. Well, when I was a baby in a crib I was singing. My mother once told me, “Your brother can’t go to sleep. You have to stop singing.” My dad was a singer, a tenor, classically trained. My mom bought my dad a tape recorder, and I recorded “Silent Night” on it. Very dramatic, lots of attitude. I’ve been singing all my life, but no disciplined approach. (We might also add that Carol has previously sung with the Sweet Adelines, an international barbershop style chorus!)

Q: What’s something we should know about you?
A: Horses have kind of been my thing since I was a little girl. I worked on a cattle ranch for five years. You know, like city slickers? Did you ever see it? It always reminded me of my life, because I grew up in this little beach town in southern California. A bunch of girlfriends and I would go out and help the cowboys bring in the cattle. We did it every Saturday. That’s where I learned how to drive. I drove the cattle truck. It was out of town, so it was legal. We drove a WWII jeep with hay on it to feed the horses. It was an idyllic childhood, 5 blocks from the beach in San Clemente, California.

Q: What brought you to the Northwest?
A: My husband is from here, and he hated California, basically. It was at a time when we thought our kids would be better off to grow up here. And it was–better–in a lot of ways.

Q: What did you do for a career before you retired?
A: Many things. I worked for the school district. I drove a school bus, worked in the cafeteria. I was driving a bus, and the principal said, “You should be working with kids. We’ll make you a instructional assistant.” I did that for 9 years. The school had a swimming pool, a therapy pool. It was like the Taj Mahal. Then when I moved up here I basically did the same thing in the Beaverton School District. I did work at Tektronix for about 10 years in the middle there. Then went back to school district.

I really didn’t like the corporate world. I worked in the international building as the secretary. Met all these people from Japan. It was a really interesting job. I got a lot of college over the years, especially in special education. I went to Marylhurst, PCC, and Sattleback Community College in southern California.

Q: What do you enjoy doing now when you’re not making music?
A: I love spending time with my 5 great-grandchildren. Well, I should say 4 and ¾ because the little girl is going to be born in May!

I’m kind of a social person, you know. I play bunko with friends. It’s really a game that has no skill required. We have people who brag when they win, and we say, “What are you bragging about? There’s no skill required!” You win money though. They love winning money. I do this with my daughter-in-law. She was in a bunko group and asked me if I wanted to sub one day, and I’m still in the group.

I also volunteer with my daughter-in-law’s classroom. We go on field trips…OMSI, zoo. They go to something called “Camp Invention.” The kids are tasked with inventing something using all this recycled material. There is a lot of duct tape involved.

Once a week I volunteer at the daycare in the high school where I worked for 18 years, Merlo Station. It’s a small environment, which is good for a lot of kids. There’s a teen parent program in that school, and there’s a daycare attached to that. Obviously, finding childcare is difficult for the young students who have babies. They’ve got the baby program, toddler program, 18 months to 3 years program. It’s incredible. So, they finish–sometimes it takes them 3-4 years to finish. When I was working there I volunteered 2 mornings a week. Now, I just volunteer one day a week.

Soon, I’m going to try to do the SMART reading program with Deanna (Cantrell).

Q: What is one thing you like about volunteering here at the front desk?
A: The people. The whole environment is really fun. With the dancers on one side, and the (music & theatre) studio on the other. There are lots of kids on one side and adults wandering around, or watching their kids dance through the window. I enjoy it.

Another fun fact about Carol, is she likes to rollerskate. One little girl even told her once, “You’re the best roller skatin’ gramma I ever saw.” Carol, you’re a true renaissance person if we’ve ever seen one!

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