A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Mary Herrod
Music can shape lives, create connections, start a movement, and inspire deep thought. Mary Herrod is an incredibly talented vocalist that delights the ears of all who here her. A Life in the Spotlight and a voice that matters, Herrod is singing her way to success.
Herrod was born in Orlan Park, IL and raised in Chesterton. She attended St. Pat's and Chesterton High School. Throughout her time at CHS, she was involved in music. Chesterton had quite a show choir (still does) and she was involved in that.
"Music was something that was ingrained in my head. There aren't many musicians in my family. My dad sang to me at night. I saw little mermaid and I loved the story and the Disney princess. I sang all the time. 'Part of Your World' was part of my parents world all the time. I wanted to grow up to be Ariel," Herrod said.
So from a young age, Herrod dreamed of music. After graduating from high school she went to Indiana University. She left IU to attend Millikin College in Decatur, IL. where she majored in Theater. Like many of us, she wanted to do what made her happy, but wasn't sure what direction she wanted to go in to reach her goal.
"I wasn't sure where I was going, I grew up loving Disney and musical theater one day it clicked with me to change majors and change schools to pursue music. A teacher of mine talked to me about singing opera," Herrod said.
So she left Millikin and went to Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA. Graduating with a degree in Vocal Performance, Herrod knew that she was was on her way to where her heart was taking her.
"I felt a sense of empowerment being away and being by myself. I felt like it was a very good choice for me," Herrod said. "I took class in school to teach and I love sharing my love of music with other students. Now I'm in Chesterton with an open vocal studio."
Herrod has lots of plans for herself. She wants to sing opera, but one doesn't just show up to a professional opera audition, one must train. Herrod auditioned for a training program, a young artists program to study different roles for a second round of roles at Chicago Summer Opera coming in June. Herrod then plans to go to Los Angeles for a month to do OperaWorks and in September she will be a resident artist for Central Florida Lyric Opera. She also spends lots of her time performing at local theatres in the area and works part time in the box office and in vocal directing at the Memorial Opera House.
"I do a lot of shows at opera house. It feels like a family there. That's how I met my fiance. We played in different shows like Kiss me Kate and Jekyll and Hyde," Herrod said.
Jeff De Boer, Herrod's beau, plans to be an Imagineer at Disney. It seems like a perfect match.
"My fiance has pushed me the most. He has given me a sense of confidence. I'm starting to see that I'm good at other things. He has made me confident in all areas of music. It's a good match he inspired me and I inspire him," Herrod said of De Boer. "
When she has free time, Herrod loves to get TV time in and spend time with her family and friends. She credits her family for their support of her. They attend all of her shows and are always encouraging her. Herrod's positive attitude is contagious and she shares how she keeps the positivity in her life.
"It's worth your while to do what makes your heart beat," Herrod said. "Whatever it is that you're passionate about, that you think about every day, that's what you should go for. When you audition, they have to pick someone, so why can't it be you? Find it out and go for it."