in the armchair with Teresa Eickel | In the chair

Opera singer

AGE: I’m not saying, but I had a huge crush on Alex P. Keaton at the time. (If you know, you know.)

OCCUPATION: Director of Development and Programs at Conservatory of Avalonia Lands.

RESIDENCE: Preston, Connecticut.

BORN, RAISED AND GROWN IN: Born in Virginia and raised in Massachusetts.

AT THIS TIME I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF: Plan the Great Avalonia Trail Trek, Avalonia’s annual fundraiser in October! I am also in the process of completing a certification in Yoga Voice, a vocal pedagogy that combines the principles of singing with the principles of yoga.

I FACED THE PANDEMIC IN: Gardening, singing and practicing yoga.

MY MOST PROUD ACHIEVEMENT: Defeat cancer. I don’t know if it’s an accomplishment, but I’m grateful for it! I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2010 – completed chemotherapy, surgery and radiation and have been cancer free for over 10 years.

TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: I would love to see the Grand Canyon!

I ALWAYS WEAR : A pitch pipe.

WHAT I WANTED TO BE BIG: Opera singer.

MY HEROES ARE: Frederick Douglass, Leontyne Price, Nelba Marquez-Greene, and scientists and doctors (Yay science & Medicine!). Also, my husband, David Gudbrandsen! (And I’m not the only one who thinks so. He saved the lives of 17 people while serving in the Coast Guard.)

FAVORITE AUTHORS: Maya Angelou, Allison Weir.

BOOKS ON MY NIGHT TABLE: “Another mirror” by Ronald Takaki.

THE THREE BEST SONGS FROM MY PLAYLIST: “Madama Butterfly” (the opera), “Hamilton” (the musical), “You are the Reason” by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis (a real song).

LAST THREE SONGS I ASKED ALEXA / PANDORA / SPOTIFY TO PLAY: “9 to 5”, by Dolly Parton; “That’s all I know”, from P! Nk; “Annie, are you okay? By Michael Jackson.

THREE FAVORITE FILMS OF ALL TIME: “The Color Purple”, “Apollo 13”, “Goonies” (Hey, you guys!).

FAVORITE TV SHOWS: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “The Right Place”, “Schitt’s Creek”.

FAVORITE RADIO / SHOWS / PODCAST STATION: I don’t really have a particular favorite, but I listen to “Freakonomics”.

TOP COMFORT FEEDING: Dark chocolate.


FEATURES I LOVE MOST: Honesty and hard work.

PETS : Laziness and dishonesty.

FAVORITE QUOTE: “Either you make yourself miserable or you make yourself strong. The amount of effort is the same. – Carlos Casténada

MY FAVORITE THING ON OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: The green space, the local farms and the shore (OK, that’s three things).

CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT: Cold brew coffee and guacamole (but not together, that would be weird).

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT ME: I am also a professional opera singer.

BEST TIP I EVER RECEIVED: Be nice, you don’t know what other people are going through.

TIPS I LIKE MOST TO GIVE: Listen more than you talk.

IF I RIDED THE WORLD, I WOULD DO: MDR. I’m not sure – I’m not really the ‘run the world’ type.

IF I WIN THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WILL DO: Create a family foundation and start funding good causes.

I DRIVE TO: White Nissan foil.

I WOULD LIKE TO DRIVE A: I believe the Jetsons promised us flying cars. When will they be available? 🙂

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Limes and lemons.

IF I COULD INVITE A SPECIAL PERSON TO JOIN ME FOR DINNER AND CONVERSATION, I WOULD INVITE: My university voice teacher, Fritz Moses, passed away in 2009.

– Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro