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February 22, 2017

Student Spotlight: Laurie Gardiner

By Gabby Cohen

Laurie Gardiner, a current MFA in Film and Television Production candidate at SCA, has recently been accepted to a prestigious summer program called the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) this summer in Graz, Austria. Before coming to USC, Laurie received her BS and BA degrees in Music Education and Performance from Oakwood University and also worked as a music educator for 6 years.

AIMS is a world-renowned international training program that prepares elite musicians for a career in vocal performance. The intense 6-week program not only allows students to partake in voice lessons with world-renowned performers and professionals, but also offers acting classes, Master classes, movement classes, and language classes (German, Italian, French and Russian). Laurie will not only be participating in all of these classes, but she will be performing in a concert series and operetta across the Graz region. She will also have the opportunity to audition for professional opera agents and compete in the Meistersinger Vocal Competition.

Laurie’s singing career began when she was a young girl. As a child, Laurie suffered from a severe speech impediment that came on suddenly, which caused her to become very quiet and self-conscious. It wasn’t until Laurie started singing that she realized her disability didn’t have to define or limit her potential. This magical moment led Laurie to begin her professional singing career with a female quartet called One Love. Once coming to college, Laurie began singing opera.

Though Laurie will be spending her summer at an opera institute, her love for art spans across disciplines. Her goal has always been to merge film and music. Laurie is currently working on a feature length script about the power of music and the affect it has on our lives. “As a musician,” Laurie explains, “I understand that music can literally affect the way we perceive the world. So, as I complete my feature screenplay at USC, I want to create music that will be aesthetically pleasing to the audience’s soul and hopefully evoke change within our society.”

When asking Laurie where this inspiration came from, she answered, “Shortly after I became cognizant of the fact that music would help me overcome my stutter around the age of 9-10, I saw the movies The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at my grandparent’s house. Literally back-to-back! It was definitely the perfect storm. All three movies were brilliantly centered around music and I was in awe with the way each piece made me feel in relation to the characters I was watching. For me, music and film went hand in hand. I couldn’t watch a movie without paying attention to the music, and I couldn’t listen to music without thinking of a dramatic or comedic storyline to go along with it. So whether music is playing a supporting role in my films or taking center stage, it is clear to me that music communicates in powerful ways even when language is absent.”

Laurie’s acceptance into the AIMS program is truly an honor. The program requires two different audition processes and participants are chosen from an incredibly large applicant pool. Laurie explains that the program’s curriculum is specifically designed to build the skills and discipline needed to succeed in the business of singing as a profession.

“Performing in AIMS will be an invaluable opportunity for me to refine my skills as an artist and I am confident that it will help me bring the best version of myself to my cinematic work. Yes, I have all of the feels. My advice to anyone reading this would be to never limit yourself! It may seem like nothing makes sense in your life right now, but there is a common thread connecting the dots of your life and everything is playing out just the way it needs to. In addition to that, you never know where life may lead you, so be open, be prepared, and be aligned spiritually when an opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready!”

To visit Laurie’s Indiegogo (Generosity) Page: https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/i-m-going-to-graz-austria--2/x/16078846

To view the AIMS website and learn more about the program: Aimsgraz.com