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Singer visits Saint Mary’s, performs one woman musical

| Tuesday, September 11, 2018

On Monday, Saint Mary’s welcomed mezzo-soprano Kate Tombaugh who discussed her journey and shared career advice with students interested in musical theater. Tombaugh also performed her one woman musical, “It Just Takes One.”

Tombaugh wrote, produced and starred in “It Just Takes One,” a one woman show about her journey to stage, from her first auditions in New York City, through her struggle to find the right guy and to living on her own while pursuing her dreams. The music in the show ranged from popular Broadway tunes such as “Cockeyed Optimist” from “South Pacific” to original songs and arias.

Tombaugh is a mezzo-soprano, which means that vocally she has the capacity to play either a male or female role in a musical. Tombaugh has toured with a variety of opera companies and symphonies and has performed in such musicals as “Barber of Seville” and “Cinderella.”

During her lecture, Tombaugh recommended that students start preparing for their careers while in college.

“It’s not like one day you just wake up and say, ‘I’m a professional!’ You have to start practicing now,” she said. “This time for you is a very short blip in your career and the sooner you can start being proactive and learning how to be your own teacher and promoter, the better off you will be. There’s going to be a time where you’re out of school and you won’t have the resources like you have here.”

College is the perfect “safe zone” in which students can start to realize their dreams, Tombaugh said.

“I had always heard that you should create the life you imagine, but you can’t just keep seeing it as this distant thing in the future, you have to start taking tangible steps towards it,” she said.

Tombaugh said students need to stop bragging, rather they should start to promote themselves effectively, as teachers, peers and colleagues can be the start of their network.

“You have to decide what kind of person you want to be, and I have always known that I’m not the type of person who is comfortable throwing someone under the bus to make something happen for me,” she said. “If you start to view everyone as your asset, as your friend or network, not in a using way, but if you think, ‘their successes are my successes’ and ‘they have skill sets and information that I don’t have access to’ … then you are giving yourself a lot of power back.”

Tombaugh said motivation is a key to success.

“Find the happy medium in your personality,” she said. “If you are someone who is not super motivated, you have to think about ways to motivate yourself. I try to come up with a theme or mantra every year. This year, my goal is ‘simplify and streamline.’”

Following one’s dreams requires effort, Tombaugh said.

“Sometimes you need to just keep pushing to make something happen,” she said.  


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About Gina Twardosz

Gina Twardosz is a senior English Writing and Communication Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. She's the co-editor of the Investigative Unit, a Saint Mary's social media liaison, and she occasionally writes for SMC News and Scene. Gina is a tried and true Midwesterner and yes, she does say "ope" often.

Contact Gina