We had the good fortune of connecting with Heidi Vass, Emma Grace Roche, Melissa Birch and Dana Rouse “Seraphour” and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heidi Vass, Emma Grace Roche, Melissa Birch and Dana Rouse, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
(ER) I’ve always been a “go go go” person, working and constantly keeping busy. It is only recently, since becoming a mother, that I have discovered the benefits and necessity of slowing down and creating a work/life balance. I’d love to say that it was a conscious decision to create balance, but I had a meltdown moment after my first child was born when I was doing too much professionally and needed to slow down. I was definitely a victim of burnout for quite awhile before that turning point. Learning to say “no” to career opportunities is so difficult after being indoctrinated as a young singer into the mindset of saying “yes” to every opportunity. Being selective about where I spend my creative energy has allowed me to fully enjoy making music again. I only say yes if it is something that is going to fill my cup in some capacity, not out of a sense of duty or fear of missing out.
(DR) In the early 2000’s, I was home with three children under the age of 4. I was mainly focused on raising my family and fit in my musical performances and teaching around the lives of my kids. However, once they all went off to school I focused on building my voice studio and looking for more opportunities to perform. Now I am enjoying a fuller performance schedule and teaching load while still finding time to visit my adult children and enjoy time alone with my husband of 27 years. Each season has a gift to offer and I’ve been thankful to be able to keep both work and family life healthy and joyful for this long!
(HV) It’s important to keep your priorities straight. I made a conscious decision to enjoy my children while they were young. At the same time, I wanted to be an example for them of a woman who was motivated and valued her work. I am sure I didn’t always get the equilibrium right, but I certainly did all I could to put my family first. As Dana said, recognizing that life has seasons and allowing each one to be full and rich is where you find the balance. It’s not going to be a static proposition and you have to give yourself room to grow and change.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Seraphour is an All-female classical vocal quartet dedicated the preservation and proliferation of the sacred canon- celebrating in sound that which is true, beautiful and good through the lens of the female voice.
We came together during the covid pandemic primarily as an artistic outlet for each of us. For classical singers who are accustomed to collaborating in our work, the pandemic was especially isolating. With concert halls closed and church jobs on hiatus, we realized just how intertwined music making is with community. We started getting together in a distanced environment and trying out different pieces. We quickly realized that we had something special to say and we were determined to make something light and beautiful come out of these isolating and dark times.
We recorded our debut album in the spring of 2021 and released it the following fall. We have since launched a successful nationwide radio campaign and began performing live. We are currently booking our 2022-23 season and working on a series of videos pairing stunning sacred spaces with inspirational musical performances.
The greatest challenge we have had thus far is the covid pandemic – balancing our need for live rehearsals with the risks associated with meeting and singing in person. We are incredibly proud of the work we have been able to accomplish and have formed some amazing friendships along the way. We really support one another in our musical and life journeys – always prioritizing that all-important work-life balance. We do more than make beautiful music, we feed our souls and have a real sense of purpose – one that aspires to inspire.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d make some time to catch a performance at the music center along with a stroll through the Broad. We’d grab bites to eat at Grand Central Market, Farmer’s Market and Portos. Of course we would have to take a trip to the Getty and Getty Villa. We would carve out time for tea and a stroll through the Huntington Gardens. We’d also save some energy for a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains and a drive down the iconic Pacific Coast Highway (stoping for photos and a splurge meal at NOBU). If there was time, maybe catch a Clippers game at the Staples center (sorry Lakers fans). But no visit to LA would be truly complete without an iconic Pinks hot dog.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our amazing parents, husbands and children! Without their support, we would not have the ability to make the room in our lives to make our ensemble work. They inspire us, encourage us, love us and give us space to explore a life in music.