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Meet Lori Sutherland of Tonal Diversions Music in Crystal Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Sutherland.

Lori, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had a passion for music. I knew early on in high school that I wanted to major in music in college. Fortunately, my dad supported me in that endeavor (my mom had died from ovarian cancer in 1990), so I pursued a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition from Ohio State University (1997). After graduation, I took some time to decide which direction to go, which lead to obtaining my Master’s in Library Science, graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005. During that time, I had gotten married and moved from Columbus, Ohio, to Crystal Lake, Illinois. I work at the Algonquin Area Public Library as a cataloger, pursuing musical opportunities in my spare time. I’m heavily involved in the local music community: playing and performing in several ensembles, running a clarinet choir, teaching private clarinet and piano lessons, and blogging. I’ve focused a lot of my time lately getting back into composing. The rise of self-publishing has certainly helped my career as a composer and arranger; my output has grown knowing that I have an outlet for sharing my music. I balance my life as best I can and continue to strive to make music an even bigger part of my life.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Most roads are not smooth; mine is no exception. There are opportunities I regret not taking in college and, looking back, I could have really benefited from a mentor, especially as one of the few women in my degree specialty. I lacked confidence in several areas of my life, which meant I held myself back when, perhaps, I should have taken a chance. While I’m proud of achieving my Master’s Degree, my time in school lead to music taking a back seat for a few years. I’m making up for that now.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Tonal Diversions Music – what should we know?
Like other musicians, I wear several hats. I’ve started bringing my different musical activities under one umbrella: Tonal Diversions Music. I see my mission as bringing music and people together. I compose and arrange music as a way of introducing pieces to different audiences (i.e. taking a piece originally written for orchestra and arranging it for clarinet choir; composing a piece for horn choir then rescoring it for concert band). I teach music as a way of broadening students’ knowledge and experiences. I perform as a way for audiences to hear new and different works. I blog as a way to show people that classical music isn’t scary.

I’m proud that I made the leap to turn Tonal Diversions Music into a DBA entity. It’s still very much a work in progress, but I continue to work toward building a respected, trusted, and welcoming name in music.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I’m not giving up. I believe in my purpose and can’t imagine not doing it. It is challenging during the low periods, so I work on ways to get myself through those times.

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